Friday, February 2, 2007

Energy saving tips to fight winter's chill

Winter time means cranking up the furnace, fireplace, portable heaters, and other heating devices. Running the heat constantly to keep warm may be a sign that something isn't right. The more we run such items to heat our homes, the drier we make our indoor air. The drier the air, the colder it feels. I'm sure you're familiar with the heat index in the summertime when, for example, the temperature may be 85, but, because of a high relative humidity reading, it really feels like 98. Well, the same thing happens in reverse. The less humidity in the air - the colder it feels.

If you have a humidier on your furnace then check and make sure it has been turned on for the winter and is running well. If you have an older furnace, the humidifier may not work at all. If this is the case, then, at the very least, pick up a room humidifier for your bedroom. Besides static cling, very dry air also causes dry skin, dry mouth and contributes to poor respiration which leads to a lousy night's sleep.

The humidifier on my furnace died years ago and instead of paying an HVAC contractor to put on a new one for $400-$500, I bought a whole house, portable humidifier for a little over $150. I placed it near an air intake for the furnace and let it run constantly. The humidity in that room will reach 70% at times but, when the furnace kicks on, the humidity in that room will drop 10-15% fairly quickly as it sucks in moist air and shoots hot, humid air throughout the entire house. And believe me, humid air feels a lot warmer and much more comfortable than the bone dry stuff.