WIESBADEN, GERMANY – October is the Army’s “Energy Action Month,” and the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Directorate of Public Works is always focused on energy resilience, efficiency and affordability.
Now is the time to review common mistakes and solutions to ensure proper heating strategies are utilized as we move into the winter season.
Common mistakes and solutions:
Placing items too close to the radiator – your desk, a curtain or the couch – if pieces of furniture, textiles or other objects stand in front of the heater or cover it, heat will accumulate. The room remains cool because the warm air cannot distribute itself evenly. Radiators should therefore always stand freely. Even smaller objects in front of the heater can cause this effect.
Misreading the thermostat – the numbers on the thermostat show how warm it gets in the room, and at the same time provides information on how to save energy. However, many people misinterpret the numbers. A radiator will not warm up faster just because you turn it all the way up.
As a review, the numbers on the thermostat stand for various temperatures ranges. Asterisk (*) is approximately 5 Celsius/ 41 Fahrenheit for frost protection. Stage 1 is approximately 12 C/ 54 F. Stage 2 is approximately 16 C/ 61 F. Stage 3 is approximately 20 C/ 68 F. Stage 4 is approximately 24 C/ 75. Stage 5 is approximately 28 C/ 82 F.
In order to get warm faster at home, many people turn the radiator up to Level “5,” however, that does not work. A radiator does not get warm faster just because you turn it all the way up. The level only influences the room temperature up to which a radiator continues to heat.
Wrong room temperature in the rooms – depending on the room, a different temperature is recommended. Not all rooms need the same temperature. Experts recommend the following temperatures for different rooms. Bedrooms can be set at about 18° C, Level 2.5. Bathrooms at approximately 22° C to 24° C, Level 3.5 to 4. The kitchen at approximately 18° C, Level 2.5, and the living room at approximately 20° C, Level 3.
If you rarely use a room, you should set the thermostat to the Level “asterisk”. Then the heating only runs when the temperature drops below 5° C and will protect the heating system from frost damage.
Constant heating – we like it nice and warm at our home, but leaving the heating on at full blast is not a good idea. Heating costs are an extremely large amount of energy. Every degree Celsius warmer causes up to 6& more heating costs. For example, if you heat the rooms to 24 C instead of 20 C, you will potentially have 24% higher heating costs. For the sake of the environment and your wallet, try to get used to temperatures around 20 or 21 C. Wear sweaters and longer clothing at home in winter instead of T-shirts and keeping your feet warm, in particular, goes a long way.
Ventilating incorrectly – proper ventilation also means proper heating. In winter, it is better to ventilate thoroughly instead of leaving tilted windows open. In winter, the air humidity in the rooms can become very high and ventilation helps prevent that. However, do not tilt the window permanently. Tilted windows hardly provide air exchange, but cool the walls near the windows. The heating system then has to work even harder to maintain the temperature. It is better to ventilate regularly by opening the windows completely, several times a day for several minutes. This is particularly important in the bedroom directly in the morning. The humidity in the room rises more throughout the night.
Be sure to turn off the heating valves when ventilating. Even if you open the windows for less than 10 minutes, too much valuable energy will be wasted through the open window. Immediately after airing out, you should turn the heating back to the correct setting.
Improper window and door insulation – poorly insulated windows allow heat to escape. Heating your home does little good if the heat does not stay inside the heated space. This happens when windows and doors become porous and therefore leaky. Some of the warm air then escapes into other rooms or outdoors. Combat this by checking the seals on your windows and doorframes. If you find gaps or leaks, you can fill them with foam or rubber sealing tape, commonly available at hardware stores.
Drying laundry on the radiator – even if it works well, in winter, you should not let your wet laundry dry on the radiator. This causes two problems at once, the heat accumulates under the textiles and the heat is not distributed in the room. Additionally, the wet laundry increases the humidity in the room, creating an ideal breeding ground for mold.
Leaving windows open too long – leaving windows open in winter can lead to a waste of energy and can cause the heating system to malfunction, leading to pipes freezing and further damage.
Remember these heating strategies as you prepare your home and work place for this winter season.
(Courtesy article and photos from the U.S. Army Garrison, Directorate of Public Works)
Source: U.S Army