Some tips to keep your heating bills down

It’s Feb-brrrrr-ary and isn’t it a cold one? Temperature records were shattered all over the province yesterday (February 16).  Some by a degree or so, others by almost 10 degrees.

Your furnace has probably been working overtime so we at Binnie Mechanical thought that this might be a good time to share some money saving suggestions to help keep your heating bills down.

There are some inexpensive ways for you to help keep your heating bills down.

“Shut the door – do you want to heat the outside?”

You probably heard that from your mother growing up. Now that you are an adult you don’t leave doors open but did you know that windows can account for up to 25% of energy loss?  Here in Oakville we have houses that range in age from over 150 years to five years. If you are in an older home, check out your windows. Are there cracks where energy can escape? Consider doing come caulking around those areas. Check around the doors at the same time.

Put your furnace on a schedule

Lower the thermostat during the day when you’re not home and at night while you’re sleeping. Consider setting your thermostat to about 17°C or 19°C when you are out of the house all day or while you are sleeping.

If you have a programmable thermostat, consider setting it to the follow schedule:

  • Bedtime: 18°C or 20°C
  • An hour before your alarm goes off: 20°C or 21°C
  • When everyone leaves the house for the day: 15°C or 17°C
  • An hour before the first person arrives home at the end of the day: 20°C or 21°C

Going on vacation? Give your furnace a vacation too

If you’re going off to someplace warm for a vacation, programming your thermostat to keep the house at a steady 15°C while you’re away will keep things from freezing and your gas/hydro bill from skyrocketing. If you have a friendly neighbour you trust, you can ask them to come in and turn up the temperature when you are an hour or so away from home so that you can come to a nice warm house.

Some small investments in time or cost and can make all the difference. Changing habits can to

  • If you do not already have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one. Some newer ones even have apps so you can manage it when you are away.
  • Warm blankets will keep your family comfortable at night and allow you to keep you thermostat set to a reasonable energy-saving temperature.
  • If you have drafty doors and windows, seal them with caulking – if your house is really old, you may want to consider using plastic window kits to keep the drafts out.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the damper and glass doors shut when it is not being used.
  • If you have an old fireplace that is not being used and you have no plans to use it, have refitted so you don’t lose heat through the chimney.
  • If you have a home-based business like many folks in town and spend most of your day in your home office, consider using an energy-efficient space heater in that one room and keep the thermostat turned down for the rest of the house.
  • Keep the heating vents closed in rooms that you rarely use. If no one is in there, why heat them?
  • On sunny winter days, open your blinds, curtains, drapes and let the sun help heat your home. On gloomy, cold, grey days, close them.
  • Dress for the temperature. Wear sweaters and warm slippers around the house. This will avoid family members wanting to turn up the thermostat. If your feet feel toasty, you’ll feel much warmer.
  • Ensure that your vent covers are kept clean and that you change the filters in your furnace regularly. Doing both of these simple tasks will ensure that heat flows much more freely and evenly.
  • Make sure that the heating vents in your home are not blocked by furniture.
  • And finally, have Binnie Mechanical do a furnace/air conditioning inspection at least once a year to ensure that everything is working in tip top condition. Fixing a small problem will save you money in the long run. Give us a call at 905-849-0297 if you have any questions or would like us to take a look at your heating system.


The “Great Ice Storm of 2013”

This winter has come in like a Polar Bear.  First the Ice Storm bringing trees down on power lines and causing widespread blackouts, then the Arctic Vortex bringing some of the coldest weather seen in the GTA in over 20 years.

Binnie Mechanical has been up to the task of keeping our clients warm on the coldest nights. Here’s a comment from one of our customers:

The ice storm left us without power for 15 hours and then when the power came back on our furnace was not happy.  The mother-board had been damaged by a power surge.    I woke up around  3AM on Christmas morning and noticed that it seemed very cold and wondered if Santa had gotten stuck in the chimney.  So I left a voice mail on the Binnie hotline at 905-849-0297.  Pat called me back around 7:30 and Dave was here by 9:00AM, before having had his Christmas breakfast.  We were warm again by 10.

As always, excellent service from Binnie Mechanical!

Peter Wooster

Some advice on what to do if the power goes off:

  • shut off the furnace so that it won’t be damaged when the power comes back on, modern furnaces are electronic equipment, just like your computer.
  • shut off all electronic equipment, computers, home theatre systems, automatic ovens, etc.
  • shut off all appliances with heating elements such as stoves and ovens, you don’t want them coming on unattended.
  • leave a tap slightly open to let the water keep moving, moving water doesn’t freeze as easily as still water.
  • don’t open the freezer door, unless necessary, it will hold its cold longer that way.
  • when the power comes back on check the freezer to see if the contents are still frozen.
  • consult an authority on what can be refrozen if some items have thawed.
  • get a whole home surge protector, your electrician can install one in your breaker panel.

Welcome to the Binnie blog

Welcome to our new website and our first ever blog post.  We hope everyone had a great Holiday and wish you all the best in the New Year.

This Holiday Season has been an exciting time in the home comfort business. We had the “Great 2013 Ice Storm” followed by the deep freeze of the “Arctic Vortex”. Furnaces have been doing yeoman service with winter just barely officially started. See our post the Great Ice Storm of 2013 for a story from one of our clients.