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The Cold, Hard Facts on Cooler Weather

« Previous Page01/12/2010


Here are a few things to know about your heating system when a cold front blows through. That funny smell when you turn on the heat for the first time usually comes from the burning off of oxidation, which builds up on the electrical heating element. It’s nothing to worry about unless it last more than an hour.

When the house is cold, set the thermostat to “heat”, the fan switch to “auto” and the temperature to 70 degrees. The chill will dissipate without giving your home a stuffy, overheated feeling. Then adjust the temperature up or down depending on your comfort level. When cold weather is forecast, turn your heating system on before the house becomes chilly. Electric heaters take a much longer time to raise a room’s temperature than the type of furnaces used up North.

When using your heating system, remember to keep doors and windows tightly closed to prevent the warm air from leaking outdoors. For a 2,000-square foot house, it will cost about $1 per hour (of unit running time) to heat your home. It typically takes an hour to raise the indoor temperature one degree. Once your home is comfortable, your unit will only have to run about 30 minutes of every hour to keep it that way.

Space heaters can alleviate cold spots but remember that they can be costly to operate, unreliable and occasionally dangerous. As with your air conditioner, be sure your filters are clean and have your heating system maintained twice a year when you’re A/C unit is serviced.