The “official” first day of spring is celebrated around March 20, but it often feels like spring comes much earlier in warmer places like Rome, GA. When the cold temperatures finally depart, it’s a good idea to switch off your heating system to save money until it’s time to switch on the AC. Of course, you don’t want to switch off the heat too soon, as there may still be days when the temperature could drop. With that in mind, here are some general recommendations on when to use your heating plus a few other spring HVAC tips.
When Is the Best Time to Turn a Heating System Off?
Since the climate varies so much in different parts of the country, some people may need to leave their heating on much longer, while others may want to turn it off much sooner. Whenever the temperature starts to be consistently above 50 degrees even at night, you may want to leave the heating on but turn your thermostat down to 60 degrees. This way, your heating system can still kick back on if needed so that your home doesn’t get too cold.
Even when the outdoor temperature is only 50 degrees, your home will usually stay fairly warm since it will still get quite a bit of heat gain from the sun. Due to this heat gain, it would take several days for your home to reach 50 degrees. The only exception is if you were to sleep with the windows open when the nighttime temperatures were much colder.
Turning the temperature down to 60 degrees will help to save money while preventing your home from becoming too hot. If you were to leave the thermostat set to around 70 degrees, your heating system would most likely still run at night and in the morning. If you were to heat the home to 70 degrees in the morning on a warmer spring day, the indoor temperature could easily rise above 80 degrees by afternoon and force you to turn the AC on.
Once the outside temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees, it’s time to think about completely shutting off your heating system until the fall. That being said, you may also want to check the weather forecast to make sure the temperatures are predicted to remain above 60 degrees for the next two weeks so that you don’t shut your heating off too soon.
How to Shut Off Your Heating System
Shutting off your heating system is as simple as switching the thermostat from HEAT to OFF. Nonetheless, we would also recommend shutting off the power or gas to your furnace. By doing so, you can ensure that the furnace won’t turn back on if someone accidentally changes the thermostat setting.
If you have an electric furnace, there should be a shut-off switch on the furnace itself or mounted on the wall nearby. If you have a gas furnace, you’ll want to completely close the main gas shut-off valve, which is located on the gas line that leads to the unit.
If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, you need to turn off the pilot light and close the pilot gas valve. In some units, the pilot light is supplied by a different gas line, so it’s important to also close the pilot valve to prevent energy waste. If you were to leave the pilot on, it would likely continue to use somewhere between $5 and $10 a month in gas.
If your furnace was installed in 2010 or later, you most likely don’t need to worry about this step, as modern furnaces typically don’t have pilot lights. Instead, newer units use some form of electronic igniter to improve energy efficiency and prevent energy waste.
Whenever you do finally turn your heating system off completely, it’s a good idea to then replace the HVAC air filter. The same filter also functions for your air conditioning, so it’s a good idea to replace the filter to make sure your AC is ready to go whenever you need to turn it on.
How to Improve Home Comfort During the Spring
Once the weather starts warming up but isn’t yet too hot, you can use the outdoor air to help keep your home comfortable. Opening up the windows during the day will help to keep your home from getting too hot in the spring. You’ll then want to close all your windows at night once the temperature starts to drop below 60 degrees, or your home could get too cold. As long as the nighttime temperature doesn’t suddenly drop into the low 40s, your home should then still retain much of the daytime heat and never get cold enough that you would need to run your heating system.
Once the daytime temperature starts to rise into the mid-70s, you will then want to close all your windows so that you don’t let too much heat in. As it cools down in the late afternoon/early evening, you can then open the windows again to let in a cooling breeze.
Keeping your blinds, curtains, and other window treatments open during the day can also be a great way to help keep your home warm in the spring. If the outdoor temperature is around 50 degrees and your thermostat is set to 60, all the heat from the sunlight streaming in through your windows should keep your home comfortably warm.
Running your ceiling fans can also be a great way to keep cool in the spring without needing to turn the AC on just yet. If the fans spin counterclockwise, they will push air downwards and create a nice breeze to help you stay cool. In fact, we would always recommend running your ceiling fans throughout the entire spring and summer, as the breeze they create can allow you to set your thermostat to a slightly higher temperature without letting your homne getting too hot.
Another thing you may want to consider is doing certain chores like running the dishwasher or doing laundry in the evening instead of in the middle of the day. If you do these tasks during the day, the heat they produce could cause your home to get too warm. Doing these chores in the evening will also help to keep your home warmer whenever the temperature drops so that your heating system doesn’t need to come back on.
One last thing we would always recommend is to schedule HVAC maintenance service in the spring. This way, you can ensure that the system has no issues and that your AC works efficiently and is ready to go whenever you finally need to turn it back on. If you are looking to have your HVAC system maintained, Hitchcock Heating & Air is always here to help. We specialize in cooling and heating maintenance as well as HVAC repairs and installation, and we work on both residential and commercial systems for customers throughout the Rome, GA area. Give us a call today if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the benefits of HVAC maintenance.