One of the most common heating systems in the US is the forced-air system. In the winter, forced-air systems are responsible for turning our cold homes into warmer, more comfortable dwellings. You might wonder how that delightfully warm air travels through our homes. Follow along as we go beyond the vent on the wall to see what happens behind the scenes:

Heat Circulation - Winter Season

The great escape. If your heat has been running for what seems like hours but you still have the need for several layers of clothing and blankets, then your house may be losing heat. You’ve heard that heat rises, but you may not have realized that it could be escaping at the same time. Because warm air contains lower-density molecules, it rises above cool air, which tends to sink. Warm air molecules also move more rapidly than cooler air molecules, so if you have any leaks in your home, you can expect warm air to escape faster than cooler air.

To avoid this situation, adding insulation to your home is extremely important. The best place to start is in your attic, but don’t stop there—your entire house should be insulated in order to avoid heat loss. You could also be experiencing heat loss from around your windows and doors. To test how well they’re sealed, hold a lit candle around the perimeter of each window and exterior door. If you notice the flame flicker, you might have a leak in that area that needs attention. To learn more about heat loss, check out our blog article that discusses different types of heat loss.

Easy changes for a warmer home. It may seem counterintuitive to run your ceiling fan during the winter, but if you have high ceilings or if the air in your home is stagnant, switching your fan to run clockwise instead of counterclockwise helps to circulate warmer air around the room.

For another cheap, easy way to warm your home, just look outside. The sun might not provide as much warmth as it does during the summer, but it can still be a powerful tool in your battle against chilly temperatures. Pull back the curtains, and allow the sun to warm the rooms of your home; if you have thermal or regular heavy curtains, close them once the sun goes down to trap the warmth in.

Forced-air systems are a great relief during the harsh winter, but it’s good to remember that there is a range of things you can do to help warm your home and lower your heating costs besides switching on your HVAC system.

Click Here to View Your Local Best Pick® Air Conditioning & Heating Contractors

Sources: ENERGY STAR; Energy Vanguard; Green Building Advisor; Trane; US Department of Energy.

For more information on our sources, please contact us directly.