Wintertime HVAC FAQs: Keeping Your Home Warm For the Holidays

Posted On December 19th, 2018 by Lanz HVAC

Remember last Winter? At Lanz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we sure do. Bone-chilling cold all around our region with temps well below zero. Over the holiday season last year, we took many calls from customers, asking us about all things heat-related: Services like heating system inspections and repairs, new heat pumps, air duct cleanings, geothermal units, dehumidifiers, everything imaginable.

So, before winter truly sets in, we’re offering a few FAQs and top tips, so you can beat the freeze with a well-heated home:

Q: What’s the most efficient way to keep an Illinois home nice and warm in the winter? Electric heat pump? Natural gas furnace? Wood-burning fireplace? Warm thoughts?

A: Personally, we like a nice cup of hot cocoa, but the best answer is heat pumps. Heat pumps are generally the most efficient, but gas furnaces can be equally efficient as well. In fact, heat-pump technology is so advanced today compared to 30 years ago that producing the heat and distributing it throughout your home is not a problem. Even the issue of providing supplemental or auxiliary heat is solved most easily with modern heat pumps.

If your home is equipped with a furnace or fireplace, natural gas is cleaner and more energy-efficient than wood or pellets. The price of propane can often be prohibitive for new builds.

Q: How helpful are programmable thermostats in the winter? What temperature should they be programmed to?

A: Programmable thermostats keep your family warm in the wintertime without busting the household budget. Installing and programming an automatic thermostat is a high-tech, proven way to control your home’s temperature on an hourly basis, letting you save energy (therefore money) while everyone stays comfortable at peak times of the day.

A programmable thermostat is your best weapon against winter’s sky-high energy costs - if you know how to use it. The key is to program your home’s temperature 8 to 10 degrees below optimal comfort level during hours when everyone’s asleep or at work. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that consumers save 1% off their winter heating bill for every 1° the temp is lowered for 8 or more hours per day. Dropping 10° could mean as much as 10% savings. Used properly, a programmable thermostat is the Illinois homeowner’s best line of defense against our harsh Midwest winters and maintaining lower energy bills.

Q: How do we keep the house from being so stuffy in the winter?

A: It gets cold, it gets humid, and you often feel congested. Damp air means bacterial growth where it’s not wanted. Combat stuffiness by installing and operating dehumidifiers on every level and turn on your HVAC fan to keep air circulating. When showering, turn on bathroom fans to keep humidity low.

Q: There’s an Emergency Heat setting on the heat pump. When should we use that?

A: The emergency heat setting on the heat pump should only be used in emergency situations, when the home’s heat pump has failed (frozen, damaged or broken) and no other heating methods are available. Don’t switch to Emergency Heat just because it’s really cold outside - you’ll get a significantly increased energy bill. The “Em Heat” setting is there to keep the home heated while HVAC professionals perform emergency winter repairs on a non-functioning heat pump.

You can count on Central Illinois getting cold in the winter, but with these tips, the latest HVAC technology, and the experienced experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling, you can also count on staying nice and warm until spring.

About Lanz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing: Founded by HVAC contracting veteran Troy Lanz of Urbana, Illinois, in 2002, Lanz Inc. has grown in number of employees and in services offered to the homeowners and commercial businesses of Champaign County, Il. Lanz Inc. now employs more than 50 highly qualified professionals providing certified installations, repairs and maintenance of heating and cooling systems, heat pumps, air handlers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, indoor air quality control systems, ductless split systems and geothermal solutions, plus cleaning of drains, vents and air ducts. Ask about our Comfort Club. Please call Lanz Inc. at 1-800-AIR-REPAIR or 217-355-5512 and connect with Lanz Inc. on the web at

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