Keeping the house warm and avoiding skyrocketing energy bills in winter is not easy for elderly people. But these tips will help you choose and use heating better to get the right temperature without spending too much.
One of the main fears of winter is the cost of heating the house, and with good reason.
Heating costs can be an excessive burden for those receiving a minimum pension if, in addition, it is the home of an elderly person whose body temperature is less controlled, who may be taking certain medications that alter the perception of heat, and who typically suffers from the flu or respiratory problems at this time of year.
To avoid these costs, many people do not turn on the heat, but the situation worsens because they have to overdress, causing them to sweat and causing an imbalance in body temperature.
The elderly also tend to use the stove, which impairs blood circulation in the legs and can lead to serious accidents in the home.
To avoid these situations, we will see which type of heating is most appropriate in each case and how to keep our home warm without spending too much.
Types of heating suitable for your home
To choose the type of heating best suited to our home, we must first take into account the fact that, in some cases, it may be mandatory: for example, if we live in a building with central heating, we cannot replace it if the other neighbors do not agree, and if it is gas heating, we must adapt to this system.
On the other hand, we also have to consider the city’s climate, whether the house is adequately insulated, its size, and the number of people living there.
Once these factors are clarified, we can choose one of the many alternatives available to us, considering the source of energy used and the appliance that provides the heat since not all boilers or other heating appliances consume the same amount of energy.
Therefore, if you are buying one of these appliances for the first time or want to replace an existing one, you should check the energy efficiency on the label or in the technical specifications.
Below we outline the advantages and disadvantages of each type of heating so that you can determine which is best for you:
Natural gas heating
This is the most common system. It is a low consumption and medium pollution system, efficient because it heats rooms quickly. Heat is distributed through radiators (the number and distribution depend on the needs and characteristics of the house).
Propane gas heating
It is generally more expensive than natural gas, but its output is greater, which is why it is generally used in very large houses. It has the disadvantage that storage in the home can be dangerous, so it must follow strict preventive measures.
Its performance is similar to that of propane gas, so it is also suitable for large houses, but it must accommodate an oil tank, which is rather bulky. In addition, this system is more polluting than gas.
Electric radiators and boilers are popular because they are simple and inexpensive to install, require little maintenance, and heat rooms quickly; however, considering that they consume a lot of energy and the price of electricity is constantly rising, it is a more expensive heating system than gas. It is generally recommended in warm regions or in second homes that are not very large.
This electric heating system uses air conditioning to heat, so they are used in both winter and summer and do not require additional installation. Their installation is more complicated and expensive than electric radiators, but the energy consumption is lower.
In addition, it is advisable to use them in areas where temperatures do not drop much, as ice can prevent them from working.
It is recommended to be installed in new houses or before moving, as the entire floor has to be raised to run electrical cables or pipes underneath.
Heat is radiated through the floor, which is very pleasant and a very clean and economical system that has the advantage of not requiring radiators and making better use of the space they would occupy, but installation and maintenance are expensive.
The energy needed to produce heat is obtained from plant fuels such as pellets, olive stones, or pine stems. This fuel is very economical and environmentally friendly. This is yet to be well known, but it is slowly making its way into homes.
Solar energy is required in new buildings, as installing panels that produce energy from solar radiation is mandatory. It is also cheap and environmentally friendly and can be combined with other heating systems.
Today it is yet to be widespread, and its installation is not cheap. Still, it is renewable and environmentally friendly, as the energy is obtained from geothermal sources that use the earth’s natural heat.
Tips for keeping your home warm without spending too much
Regardless of the energy system and type of heating in our home, the ideal is to maintain a constant temperature. Ideally, it should not exceed 20-23º C when we are at home and 16-18º C when we are away from home or sleeping. In any case, it is best to leave the heating on to optimize consumption, which increases if we turn it on and off continuously.
With a good heating system, there should be no problem maintaining these temperatures in the house. Still, some factors, such as the insulation of the house, the materials with which it is built, or the system of closing the windows, can make it difficult to reach or maintain these values.
To make it easier and reduce your consumption, follow these tips to keep your home warm without spending too much:
Stay moderate with raising the temperature
At the set temperature, you shouldn’t be cold in the house, and if you are, bundle up a little more because what’s better than lying on the couch with a blanket? And every extra degree means a higher utility bill.
Keep radiators clear
Do not place objects, furniture, decorations, or clothes in front of or on top of radiators because they can interfere with heat output. Remember that they are not dryers. Do not paint them, even if they have lost their color because using unsuitable products can reduce heat emission; in this case, consult a professional.
Distribute furniture well
Just as furniture can reduce the heat given off by radiators if we place it in front of them, it can also help insulate against the cold outside. Identify the coldest spots in the room and try to place a cabinet, dresser, or shelf there.
Make sure all windows are closed and lower the curtains at night to insulate rooms further. If you notice the cold seeping in, you can apply rubber or foam strips to window bars and cracks at the base of doors.
Another way to keep the cold out of windows is to install insulating curtains, preferably dark ones (they absorb sunlight better); they are more expensive than regular curtains and may not look good, but they can save you money.
Take advantage of the sun
when the sun illuminates the facade of your house in the morning, take the opportunity to air out for 10 minutes and raise the blinds to take advantage of the natural warmth of the sun’s rays.
Choose a reasonable electricity consumption
Check that the electricity consumption agreed upon with your energy supplier is reasonable compared to your consumption. Ask yourself whether you should reduce power and not use more than one or two electrical appliances simultaneously. Switching electricity is very beneficial in terms of annual savings on electricity costs.
Perform proper maintenance
Check whether the heating system is in good condition because if it is not, consumption may increase.
When is it necessary to call the heating technician?
We should perform all cleaning and maintenance work on the heating system a few weeks before the cold weather arrives to have time to solve any problems. In some cases, the solution is in our hands. In others, we have to call the technician. If you have home insurance, the arrangement may apply to you.
Let’s look at some of the situations where professional help is needed:
- You have bled the radiators, and they still do not heat enough.
- The heating pipes are worn and need to be replaced.
- You have checked that all the boiler connections and pipes are in good condition, but it needs to be fixed.
- Observe the pilot light on the boiler. If it is red or does not light, there may be a problem, such as a water leak or obstruction.
- The thermostat needs to be fixed, so the radiators are not reaching the desired temperature.
- Limescale has built up in the heating system, recognizable by a strange noise.
- For any problem you do not know the cause of or cannot solve, it is best to rely on specialists before aggravating the problem or suffering an accident due to mishandling.