ice, greenTenants, save money on your home heating. Yes, I know that you are stuck with the system your landlord chose, but you can make it work better.

Windows, the quick fix: Open and close, then lock all your windows. Locking the windows reduces the cold air flow significantly. Most people don’t know that these windows are not really sealed until they are locked. Now you know.

Hot air heat, preventable problems:

  • Don’t cover the air intake for their furnace. By covering the intake, the furnace has to work harder to get air in. The intake grate is usually bigger than the grates that the heat comes out of. They are often in hallway (which make them tempting for places to put boots or mats.)
  • Keep heat ducts clear, so the hot air can get into the room. Sometimes the register is on the floor; don’t put furniture or carpet on top of it. Don’t put furniture in front of wall registers.
  • How do I tell the difference? If the furnace is blowing and the grate is not getting hot, it could be an intake grate. (It could also be a duct that is blocked off.) Blocking this grate decreases the efficiency, at least, and can cause worse problems if the air is cut off too much for too long. You should avoid blocking any of them.

dirty-baseboardHot water baseboard, preventable problems:

  • Vacuum your baseboards. Dust decreases the efficiency.
  • Baseboards work by drawing air from underneath, heating it, then letting it rise through the vent at the top. Don’t block the air flow with furniture or high carpet. Make sure the louver at the top is open.
  • Hot water baseboards will not cause a fire if curtains or furniture touches it. You can have curtains near this type of heat register.

radiator-covers-efficiencyRadiator problems:

  • Keep your radiators clean.
  • Allow air flow by leaving a foot or so between radiators and furniture.
  • Unfortunately, most radiator efficiency problems are basic to their design or the design of their covers. This is a landlord expense, not yours.