9 Cost-Effective Ways to Keep a Cozy Home

Life is better in socks

Space heating is the biggest energy consumer in the house, accounting for about 42% of our utility bills each year. While it might be tempting to turn up your thermostat on those days you can’t seem to get warm, just a few degrees can break the bank. Try these nine low-cost ways to warm up instead:

Don’t let your money go out the window

  • Seal your windows with caulk. Caulking your windows only costs a few dollars, can be done in less than an hour, and could significantly reduce your energy bills.
  • Open your curtains during the day time. The sun is the world’s largest source of free heat, use it to your advantage by opening your curtains on sunny days.
  • Keep them closed at night. If you do opt to open your curtains during the day time, make sure you close them when the sun goes down to minimize heat loss.

Increase your insulation

  • Throw down throw rugs. Plush rugs can prevent heat from escaping through your floorboards. Plus, they feel great to walk on.
  • Put bubble wrap on your windows. Bubble wrap is a cheap, easy, and effective way to temporarily insulate your windows.
  • Use draft blockers under your exterior doors. You can purchase a draft blocker for less than $10, make your own, or use a rolled up towel – anything to stop cold air from creeping under your door.

Make use of other HVAC equipment

  • Use a humidifier. Raising the relative humidity in your home can make it feel up to five degrees warmer, even though the temperature stays the same.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans. Switch the blades on your ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. This will push warm air that gathers at the ceiling back down into the room.
  • Fire up the fireplace. If you are lucky enough to have a working fireplace and a sufficient amount of wood to burn, use it to your advantage.

Devine Bros. has been helping homeowners in Fairfield County, Connecticut save money on their heating bills for nearly 100 years. We offer affordable fuel delivery services, furnace tune-ups, energy-efficient heating equipment installations, and more. Visit our website to see what we can do for you, or call (203) 866-4421.

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Where is Your Home Losing Heat?

home heat loss

Think your home is air tight? Think again. Even with all of your windows and doors shut, most homes still lose a significant amount of heat through small gaps, air leaks, and other inefficiencies. Read below to learn more about the common sources of heat loss:

  • Ceiling. Warm air rises, so it should come as no surprise that the roof is a significant source of heat loss in most homes. Poor insulation in the attic can result in heat loss of up to 25%!
  • Walls. Many estimate that walls account for up to one-third of heat loss, making them the most significant source in the home. This could be due to poor insulation, small gaps around exterior doors, and even air leaks around your electrical outlets.
  • Windows. Your money could be going right out of the window – literally. There are a few ways to minimize heat loss through your windows. One way is by installing new double-paned glass with a low-emissivity coating. You could also simply seal air leaks with caulk or weatherstripping. A more low-tech approach involves covering your window with a thick, insulative curtain. However, this is more of a band-aid solution and prevents you from opening your curtains during the daytime.
  • Furnace. If your heating system is more than 10 years old, it could be only 65% efficient. That means 35% of the fuel you burn is ultimately wasted. This number could be even higher if you have leaky air ducts. A brand new, Energy Star heating system can offer 90% energy efficiency or more, allowing you to heat your home for less.

Devine Bros. offers energy-efficient heating system installations to homeowners throughout Fairfield County, Connecticut. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421 to schedule a service with one of our trained technicians.

3 Common Furnace Smells and What They Mean

woman pinches nose with fingers looks with disgust

Furnaces have been known to emit all sorts of strange smells, ranging from dust, to oil, to mold, and more. The scent coming from your furnace could indicate something as minor as a dirty filter, or as major as a gas leak – it all depends on the odor.

In this article, the heating experts at Devine Bros. go over three common furnace smells and what they could mean:

  • Dust. If you are firing up your furnace for the first time of the season (or maybe just after a long vacation), a dusty smell is normal. Dust can quickly accumulate in the burner element or air ducts of an inactive furnace; what you are smelling is simply the burning off or dispersion of this dust. The odor should subside relatively quickly.
  • Mold. Mold can grow virtually anywhere in the home – including inside your heating system. The air filter and air ducts are two of the most common places you will find mold in your furnace. Replace the air filter immediately; if the smell persists, you may need to hire a professional air duct cleaning service to remove mold that has grown inside your ducts.
  • Rotten Eggs. If you use natural gas to heat your home, the scent of rotten eggs is even more dangerous than it is unpleasant. In its native state, natural gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, which makes it nearly impossible to detect. During the refinement process, sulfur is added to the gas so that leaks can quickly be identified. So when you smell rotten eggs, you are actually smelling sulfur, which means there is probably a gas leak. Immediately turn off your furnace, evacuate the home, and contact your gas provider.

Is your heating system emitting a weird smell? Fairfield County residents can count on the home heating experts at Devine Bros. to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How Indoor Air Quality Can Affect Your Heart Health

indoor air pollution can impact heart health

Today is February 1st, which marks the start of American Heart Month. Sponsored by the American Heart Association, this month is dedicated to cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women, but steps can be taken to reduce your risk.

While obvious factors such as diet and exercise can impact your heart health, today we will be focusing on a more subtle, but just as significant, influencer – indoor air quality.

What is indoor air quality?

Indoor air quality refers to the quality of air within buildings and structures, as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. While it is often overlooked, indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than the air outside.

How does indoor air quality affect heart health?

Indoor air quality has been linked to an abundance of side effects, both short- and long-term. Short-term exposure to indoor air pollution can induce allergic-like reactions, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you already suffer from heart problems, short-term exposure has been known to trigger heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmias.

The long-term health effects can be even more debilitating, or even fatal. Indoor air pollution has been linked to respiratory disease, certain forms of cancer, and even cardiovascular disease. Pollution is believed to have inflammatory effects on the heart, which can lead to problems such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and heart failure.

How can I improve my indoor air quality?

Luckily, there are many ways to improve the air quality in your home. Some of them include:

  • Investing in a HEPA air filtration system
  • Adding houseplants such as the snake plant, peace lily, and english ivy.
  • Not smoking inside your home (or ever).
  • Using homemade, all natural cleaning products.
  • Avoid using aerosol air fresheners or burning candles.
  • Improving the natural ventilation in the home.
  • Dust and vacuuming your home regularly.
  • Use low-VOC paints and adhesives.

How is the air quality in your home? Find out with a free consultation from the experts at Devine Bros. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding Fairfield County area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.