Everyone in Northeast Ohio understands how important it is to properly heat a home during the peak of winter. But some people might overlook the importance of insulation and efficiency when it comes to heating.
Scott Eitman, owner of Eitman Handyman Services in Beachwood; John Marcus, owner of Designer Accents in Beachwood; and Steve Smylie, partner with Smylie One in Bedford Heights, said properly insulating and heating a home is a delicate process that needs to be taken care of before winter approaches.
“The most important thing is to make sure your furnace is serviced,” Smylie said. “Which involves checking the filter to make sure that it’s clean, because a dirty filter causes extra strain on a system and can cause it to not have enough heat or other problems. You should also check the humidifier to make sure it has been turned from the summer position to the winter position. Because in Cleveland, we deal with very dry homes. Make sure it’s tuned up and ready to go before you need to run heat.”
It’s also important to make sure the home is insulated so cold air doesn’t come into the house in excess.
Eitman said a homeowner should walk around and see which areas of the home are particularly inefficient at keeping out the cold.
“Look for where there are cold spots,” he said. “You can take your hand and feel around doorways and windows. See if there is a draft somewhere. Depending on what it is, you then get the right materials to fill that gap, or replace a window or door.”
If a home is not insulated properly, the excess cold entering the house can mitigate the work being done by the furnace to warm up the house. This can cause the furnace to work harder in order to keep the house at a comfortable temperature.
Marcus said this is why it’s important to make sure those cold spots are accounted for, especially around the windows.
“If we let the heat blast, we’re wasting lots of energy,” he said. “If you control our energy usage, and you put a fashionable window treatment up, your home will look good, and you’ll potentially be saving on your energy cost as well.”
One of those window treatments is insulating blinds that go over home windows. The blinds have an extra layer of fabric in them to keep the heat from escaping the home and to keep the cold from coming in. The blinds also retract at the owner’s convenience.
“Most people in Cleveland want to close their blinds in the winter,” Marcus said. “They don’t want to look at all that snow and gray. But when that sun does come out, and you raise the blinds and let the sunshine in, you’re saving on your energy cost.”
The blinds allow a home to be insulated without making the home too tight and not letting enough circulation in.
Smylie said a home that is too tight can create as many problems as a home that isn’t insulated enough.
One example Smylie gave was a gas stove emitting carbon monoxide when it’s turned on. If a home is too tight, there may not be enough ventilation to let out that carbon monoxide.
“One of the problems with making your house tighter is that it can also cause issues,” Smylie said. “You need to make sure when you make it tighter that somebody then makes sure that there’s enough fresh air into your home to give your water tank and the furnace enough air to make a proper flame.”