What Can I Do to Maximize My Furnace’s Efficiency?
When the weather turns cold, savvy homeowners know that the best defense against rising fuel and energy costs is to maximize furnace efficiency. The less often that a furnace needs to run to keep a home cozy and warm, the more money homeowners can save on their monthly utility bills. By combining regular furnace maintenance and repair with a few home improvements that make the home easier to heat, homeowners can enjoy a comfortably warm environment and lower energy costs too.
Preventative Maintenance Programs
Timely furnace maintenance and repair is the key to successfully optimizing a heater’s efficiency. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a well-maintained furnace with average efficiency can save more energy than a poorly maintained high-efficiency system. Enrolling in a preventative maintenance program offers homeowners a convenient and affordable way to ensure that their furnaces always operate in top-notch condition.
Preventative care offers long-term savings as well. During a regularly scheduled maintenance visit, HVAC experts can often spot and address a problem before it leads to a costly repair or replacement. In addition, well-maintained furnaces can last up to twice as long as neglected systems, allowing homeowners to postpone the need for a new heater installation.
Reducing a Home’s Heating Load
Any weakness in the structural shell of a home allows winter cold to seep into the building and warm air to leak out. Sealing up the building envelope reduces a home’s heat load, which is the amount of heat needed to keep the household comfortably warm. The ideal way to identify major sources of energy loss is with a home energy audit. Professional auditors use specialized equipment like blower doors and infrared cameras to locate a home’s worst energy thieves.
At the end of a home energy assessment, the homeowner is presented with a detailed report that lists area of energy waste as well as remedial steps that the homeowner can take to resolve them. Findings are often surprising. For example, a homeowner may discover that gaps around recessed lighting fixtures are allowing warm air to escape into the attic. Other effective home improvement projects include:
Weather-stripping windows and doors
Sealing and insulating duct work to eliminate leaks
Adding insulation to the attic
Sealing gaps around utility conduits in exterior walls
Quality HVAC companies offer system accessories that can increase a furnace’s efficiency, including heat recovery ventilators that capture thermal energy from the furnace exhaust stream to warm incoming air. HVAC professionals can also help homeowners crunch the numbers when it comes to determining whether a replacement or a repair is the most cost-effective option. With some professional help and a bit of DIY know-how, homeowners can optimize furnace efficiency and maximize savings.