According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home – typically making up about 48% of your utility bill. No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can save up to 30% on your energy bill while reducing environmental emissions.
Here are some tips to help you keep your furnace in top shape so you can save money while keeping your home comfortable at the same time:
Change your air filters. This simple task can end up saving the life of your furnace. Air filters are designed to collect dirt, dust, and other impurities in your indoor air. If you go months without changing them, the debris gets thicker and thicker, causing your system to work that much harder to produce warm air. And the harder your system has to work, the more energy it uses and the more money it will cost you. Also, the dirt and dust will get sucked back into the system causing it to fail – in fact, that’s one of the leading causes of furnace failure.
Make sure the capacitor is running efficiently. The capacitor is located in the fan of the furnace and is responsible for starting up the motor. It is like a car battery and has a charge. When it is below the recommended percentage, which is 5%, it needs to be changed. The motor will still come on if the charge is low, but it will pull more amps and greatly increase your energy usage and monthly bill. And once the charge gets low there is no guarantee of how long it will continue to work.
Make sure your system is shielded. A shielded system is one that has no cracks or leaks. For example, if there are small leaks in your air ducts, then the warm air will seep out and end up heating your attic AND the living portion of your home. This will cost you more money and it will also take a lot longer to reach the desired temperature inside your home.
Adjust the temperature when leaving for work. There is no need to keep your furnace running strong while your house is empty. By setting the temperature to a lower degree, you are still keeping your furnace running, but not as hard, which can amount to savings.
Maintain your system. It is important to have your furnace inspected annually during the fall. A lot of internal problems can only be diagnosed by a licensed HVAC technician, and by having your system inspected right before winter you are being proactive about finding and fixing small problems before they become big and costly.
Utilize your fireplace. Your fireplace is not there just to make your house look good. The flue in your chimney is not airtight, and when it is cold outside it is not uncommon to feel a breeze in your home coming from the fireplace. By lighting a fire you are providing heat in your home and giving a little bit of rest to your furnace because you don’t need to have the temperature set as high.
By paying attention to your thermostat and furnace, and by following the advice listed above, you should be able to maintain a warm and cozy household at an affordable price. But if you have made some changes and still notice no difference in your monthly payments, it’s time to give the expert HVAC technicians at JW East Mechanical a call. We can properly diagnose all furnace-related problems and help get your home comfortable in no time.