How to Make Your Furnace More Energy Efficient
Winter heating bills can take a big bite out of your wallet, especially if your furnace isn’t running at peak efficiency. In fact, many homeowners find that heating bills are their largest monthly expense besides rent, mortgage and car payments, so even small gains in ensuring your furnace is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible can pay big dividends.
Follow these tips and take a few minutes to check your furnace and make necessary repairs to get the most out of your furnace and reduce the expense of heating your home.
The filter is an essential part of any furnace, but it’s easy to forget just how important it is. If the filter in your furnace is clogged or dirty, your furnace has to work a lot harder to heat your home. All that extra effort translates into more energy use and higher energy bills.
Check your furnace filter at least once a month, and replace it as soon as you spot discoloration. Keeping a supply of extra filters next to the furnace will make doing this maintenance a lot easier.
Look for leaks
Insulation and duct tape around duct junctions break down over time after being constantly exposed to heated air and metal surfaces that expand and contract. This creates gaps through which heat escapes, potentially costing you a lot of money.
The easiest way to check for warm air leaking from ducts is to set the thermostat 10 degrees higher than the current temperature of your home and let the furnace run for about 10 minutes. Then feel the outer surface of the insulation for hot spots. Air is leaking at any place that’s excessively warm to the touch.
If you find a leak, remove the insulation, reseal the area with industrial-grade duct tape and patch the insulation.
Get an annual checkup
Having your furnace checked out each year is as important as visiting your doctor for an annual physical. A lot can happen to your furnace over 12 months, and an undetected problem could cause major problems and unnecessary expenses.
Furnace repair technicians are busiest during the winter months, though, and the cost of repairs can be higher during that period. To cut costs while ensuring your furnace is ready for the rigors of the upcoming winter season, schedule its annual checkup and tune-up for the fall or late summer.
Consider upgrading your furnace
If your home is more than 10 years old, you might get considerable savings by replacing the furnace. Heating systems have become far more energy efficient over the past decade. This means the money you spend upgrading your furnace could be recouped in just a few years, especially if you live in an area with high energy costs.