Few Colorado residents would debate the fact that their state gets cold in the fall and winter months. If you’ve experienced this chill for yourself, you may plan on cranking up your furnace to keep your home warm and cozy. However, you may not feel quite so comfortable with the high utility bills that result from this practice.
If you want to enjoy a pleasant home environment throughout the cold season without wasting energy, you can adopt some smart strategies to boost your furnace’s operation even as you use the furnace more intelligently. The following bright ideas can get your quest for warmth off to an impressive start.
Turn Down the Thermostat
The less often and less continuously you run your furnace, the less energy you’ll expend. If possible, reduce your thermostat setting by 10 to 15 degrees over an eight-hour period, either when no one occupies the home or as you sleep. This simple step could cut your home heating expenses by up to 15 percent.
Less furnace usage also means less wear and tear on this mechanical system. When you run your furnace for fewer hours each day or night, you can extend the longevity of its motors, circuitry, filters, and other key components. This benefit can add to the money you save by reducing the frequency of breakdowns requiring repair.
Borrow Warmth From the Sun
The sun conveys plenty of thermal energy even on the coldest of days. This fact can help you curb your reliance on your furnace to supply all your home’s heat. If you open the curtains on the sunny side of your home, the influx of warmth will provide you with some free heat to complement your furnace’s activity.
The southern side of a house generally receives the most heat energy from the sun. If you plan on building or moving into a new home at some future point, you can actually plan for this thermal assistance. According to Home Guides, you should make sure the longest part of the house points within 20 degrees of due south to ensure the most even heating.
Add Insulation to Your Attic
Since heat rises, you can expect to lose some of the heat generated by your furnace through your attic and roof. Insulation can reduce this heat loss, but only if you have enough of it. Unfortunately, an astonishing 90 percent of American single-family homes lack adequate insulation, forcing them to overwork their furnaces in compensation.
High energy bills in the winter, dramatic swings in temperature from one room to another, and icicles hanging off the edge of your roof may all point toward an attic insulation problem. Engage a contractor to inspect your insulation, determine whether it meets your needs, and add more of it as needed.
Even well-insulated parts of a home can spring leaks that allow warm air to escape to the outdoors. An energy audit can locate gaps beneath doors, around windows, and in coverings such as roof flashings. Seal these leaks, and you may find that you don’t need to run your furnace as hard as you’d assumed.
Check Air Ducts and Filters
Even the most powerful furnace can’t keep a whole house warm without the system of ducts that feed heated air to different rooms. Just as leaks in your home’s exterior can waste your furnace’s efforts, leaky ducts can prevent it from keeping each part of your home consistently warm.
Duct leaks can develop for many reasons. Uneven air pressure, worn fasteners or seals that hold duct sections together, damage from rodents or other vermin, or years of normal wear and tear can all cause this problem. The sooner you get faulty ductwork checked and fixed, the sooner you can enjoy more efficient heating.
A clogged air filter can interfere with your furnace’s ability to heat your home efficiently. This simple, inexpensive part may seem insignificant, but your HVAC system’s blower can’t push heated air through it if dirt, hair, and dander stand in the way. As a result, you may suffer from uneven heating no matter how hard you drive the furnace.
In the worst-case scenario, a severely clogged air filter can overwork your furnace to the point that it sustains serious mechanical failure, leaving you without any heat at all until a service technician can make extensive repairs. To avoid this hassle, get into the habit of checking and replacing air filters periodically.
Schedule Annual Inspections
As you can see, a wide range of issues can impact your furnace’s efficiency. You may find yourself chasing one problem after another in the quest to keep the temperature up and the energy bills down. Thankfully, an annual HVAC inspection from a skilled technician can catch all these problems in their early stages.
During a typical HVAC inspection, your technician may check air filters, test the thermostat and other electrical components to make sure they work properly, and check motors or other mechanical parts for wear. The technician can also advise you when the furnace needs replacing with a newer, more efficient model.
Don’t let inefficient furnace operation burn a hole in your utility budget. Steele Brothers Heating, Inc., has the skills and experience to pinpoint the source of any inefficiency and help you enjoy a warmer home. Contact us today.