Gas and electric furnaces are a powerful way to heat your home because they are fast and effective. However, they are one of the least efficient ways of heating your house because they use up a lot of energy. If you are looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy your furnace wastes, check out these useful tips on what you should and shouldn't do.
Seal Gaps in the Ducts
One of the best things you can do to ensure you stop wasting energy is to seal any gaps and spaces in the ductwork that carries the heated air throughout the home. It's estimated that 20 to 30% of the air sent from the furnace is lost as it travels through the ductwork. This causes you to force the furnace to work harder just to reach the temperature you desire. For easy-to-reach vents, you can seal them yourself with metal tape or a mastic sealant. For difficult-to-reach vents, it may be best to hire heating services.
Insulate Ducts in Non-Heated Spaces
Another problem with ducts is that they give the air time to cool. During the winter, non-heated spaces of your home (attics, basements, crawlspaces and garages) get cold. If you have ducts that travel through these non-heated areas, the cold air outside the ducts can cool the air as it passes. It may only reduce it a few degrees, but it may be enough to make you turn the heat up another degree or two. A good way to prevent the air from cooling is to insulate these ducts, allowing them to keep the air warmer longer.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
Thermostats have come a long way, and many of them don't just turn the heat on or off. Programmable thermostats give you maximum control over your furnace. You can set it to turn off at a certain time because you know no one will be home, and heating an empty house is just a waste of energy and money.
Take Advantage of Ceiling Fans
If your home has ceiling fans, you probably use them when you get hot, but you may not realize they can help during the colder months too. If you set the fan to run in reverse, it moves air without cooling it. Hot air naturally rises, but if you have a lot of hot air near the ceiling, it's not doing you any good. Having ceiling fans run in reverse force that warm air down, so you get warmer without turning up the heat or using more energy.
Keep Doors and Vents open
It's a common misconception that closing doors and vents uses less energy. The theory is that if you aren't using a room, you close the vent and shut the door. That way, no heat is entering the room, so more heat is being directed to the rooms you are using, allowing you to use less energy to heat. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Shutting the door and vent creates pressure in the room, which causes it to pull in air from anywhere it can find, which usually means cold air from cracks, windows, doors and chimneys. This can actually increase the amount of air being used from 300 to 900 percent.
Have the System Professionally Serviced
If these changes don't improve the efficiency of your system, it may need to be serviced. Hire a professional to come take a look at your system to identify any potential repairs and make any necessary adjustments to improve efficiency. During this service, the repair technician can also clean the furnace to ensure the air traveling through your house is clean.
A furnace isn't the most efficient way to heat your home, but there are many steps you can take to improve how much energy your furnace uses. If you are tired of wasting money, consider these tips to lower your monthly heating bills. For more information, or if you want to have your system inspected, contact a heating technician in your area today.