Although we have been in winter for almost a month now, the warm temperatures of the last few weeks have made us forget in many cases the traditional frosts, fogs and in general low temperatures typical of these datessomething that will change in the coming days.
According to has alerted the AEMET (State Meteorological Agency for time and climate) on their social networks, this next Sunday, January 15, 2023 a very important change of time arrives, with an atmosphere, according to what they say, “more typical of winter” thanks to a polar maritime air mass which will cause the temperatures to drop significantly.
The Agency’s forecast is for strong winds, poor sea conditions, rain especially in the north of the peninsula, snow in the mountains and cold, very cold, something that will force turn on or raise our heating equipment to face these days with a good comfortable temperature at home. What can we do to overcome this polar wave without spending a fortune on heating?
Passive heating: shelter and thermal insulation
It may seem obvious, but the main advice when it’s cold and we want to save heating is to shelter us. However, it is not as simple a task as putting on the first thing we find in our house. As our objective is to keep ourselves at a constant temperature, when we wrap up it is always preferable to do so by gradually adding layers of clothing.
This will allow us to reduce sudden temperature changes and we also get trap thin layers of warm air between them that will act as thermal insulation. It is also important not to leave areas of the body uncovered, such as feet and headthe main body point through which we lose heat almost without realizing it.
And if it is important that we shelter ourselves, it is also important to do the same with the house. For example, with the use of carpets The cold transmitted by the floor of the house is mitigated and greater warmth is achieved. likewise the curtains are our great allies to keep out the cold that enters through the windows.
Although we lose some light by covering the windows, if our windows do not have good insulation by closing the curtains, it will probably be cheaper for us to have to turn on an LED bulb for more hours a day than let the cold outside and having to turn up the heating to maintain a comfortable temperature.
If we have door and window closures that do not have good insulation, it does not hurt to install weather stripping on them to reduce hot air leaks on the one hand and on the other to prevent cold drafts from entering from outside.
Of course, it is convenient Make the most of natural light from the sun that can enter the house in the central hours of the day, since even if it is cold outside, this light will be able to heat the air inside the house, reducing heating costs.
Prepare our heating equipment
It may be that during the autumn and so far this winter we have not needed to turn on the main heating system of the house or that to save we have been getting by with a secondary one. But now probably these days we have to get it going and it should be ready.
If we have radiators at home, we must prepare them before using them so that they work efficiently, something that we can do purging them. In addition, if possible, it is advisable to carry out a boiler overhaul Checking that it has an adequate pressure level. Either by means of a mechanical manometer or a digital one on the screen, we will see the pressure, both when we are using domestic hot water, heating or when it is simply stopped.
If what we have is a electric stove or radiatorThey almost do not require maintenance, although after some time they are not used, it is common for them to accumulate dust and dirt. It is enough to remove them with a small brush or with compressed air and always with the stove unplugged. In addition, the power cord must not present bruises, scratches and breaks that could cause a short circuit and the plug must have straight socket pins, without showing signs of burning or being bent.
In the case of gas stoves, known as “butane stoves”, it is convenient to check that the rubber that carries the gas from the cylinder to the appliance has not expired. This information is printed on the same rubber, in orange, with black letters. Although it looks good, it is important to change it if it has expired to avoid defects or breakage.
If we have a wood or pellet stove, it is convenient to make a general cleaning before putting it into operation checking the draft and removing any accumulated ash that may have from previous uses.
And if what we have are air conditioning units with a heat pump, the ideal is before turning them on clean the filters well that have built-in splits to improve air circulation by removing dust and particles and thus preventing the heat pump from having to work more than necessary.
Check that we have enough fuel
If we haven’t already done it in the fall, or if we’ve been spending it in recent months, now is a good time before the polar cold wave fully enters to collect the fuel that we will need for our heaters.
If we use a butane or propane stove, it is convenient to make sure that we have a cylinder with enough quantity to use it during these days. Something similar must be done in the event that our stove uses pellets or conventional wood, materials that have increased significantly in price this season but that it will be necessary to have at home to maintain a comfortable temperature.
In the same way, if we have a wood-burning stove, it is convenient to check not only that we have a sufficient load of this material, but also that we have matches, working lighters, kindling, lighting tabletsetc.
It is also worth checking that the heating system works well starting it up a few days before the real cold arrives so that later we are not surprised and we have to call a technical service that will probably be saturated as soon as the storm arrives.
Cover image | Clint Patterson