A German industry organization has listed several  “big errors” that it claims are costing consumers money and reducing the effectiveness of their home heating. WÄRME+ objects to opening the windows a crack during the heating season and shutting down the heating when the house is vacant for a while. Among the tips: 

Error 1. Slightly opened windows provide steady fresh air. Actually they provide little air circulation and lots of heat loss. Opening the windows wide for at least five minutes will completely change the air, and turning off the radiators during the airing will reduce heat loss.

Error 2. It saves energy to shut down the heating when the house is unoccupied. The energy needed to reheat a cold room is greater than that needed to maintain a minimum temperature of 65 degrees. Also, cold air can mean damp walls and a danger of mold.

Error 3. Seldom used rooms can be heated by opening the door. Though heat does go into the room so does a lot of humid air. When the air in the room cools the dampness goes to the walls, presenting a danger of mold.  

Error 4. Heating should be put into operation when temperatures in the autumn go below freezing at night.  It doesn’t pay to heat the whole house when the average daily temperature is still mild. Temperatures of 68 by day and 60 at night are adequate. Closing shutters at night prevents heat loss and keeps the house comfortable without central heating. 

-Ted Shoemaker

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Comment by Joseph S. Lopes on October 2, 2013 at 9:00am

What is often forgotten is that, especially in a home, you're not just re-heating the air.  There's lots of soft stuff in a house - upholstery, drapes, carpets - as well as the walls themselves, that will suck the heat out of the air until everything is equalized, which causes a delay in restoring the target temperature and adds to required re-heating energy.  It works the other way, too, meaning that if you don't heat for a time, the heat in the soft stuff and walls will delay the cooling of the room.  If you don't heat for too long, though, you lose even the stored heat.

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