Have you given adequate thought to the efficiency of your home furnace before? Have you ever tried to get your home furnace to produce more while running on less energy? Unfortunately, most homeowners have never taken time to think about making their furnace operation more effective. And only a few are actively looking for efficient ways to run a furnace in their home.
It’s common knowledge that the higher the efficiency of your HVAC unit, the lower your energy consumption. Ultimately, your bills will be lower at the end of the month, and you can add the extra income to your savings. Sadly, many homeowners have given up on their current HVAC units. And some believe they have to invest money in new energy-efficient HVAC systems.
However, if you’ve ever considered efficient ways to run a furnace, you’ll realize you probably don’t need a new unit. You’ll also know there are hacks you can use to ramp up your unit’s production without consuming any more energy. Interestingly, many of these hacks are not only practical, but they’re also DIY friendly.
Considerations to Run Your Furnace Efficiently
Like many other appliances, your furnace is composed of parts that are subject to wear and tear. The less wear and tear it experiences, the better its chances for long-term functionality. And not only that, a unit in good condition will perform with greater efficiency than one in poor condition.
Also, when you bring energy consumption to the fore, it’s the primary metric we use to measure the efficiency of an HVAC unit. I.e., we gauge the ability of the furnace to produce sufficient heat levels while consuming the least possible amount of energy attests to its efficiency.
So, does your unit consume more energy than average for regular use? Do you want to get more service from the unit? Or, do you simply want to increase the lifespan and chances of your HVAC system? Whatever your desires for your heating system, below are some of the efficient ways to run a furnace and improve its overall output without necessarily incurring higher costs.
Check and Replace Furnace Filters
We know this sounds like a tip straight out of the HVAC unit maintenance handbook. However, there’s no denying that one of the efficient ways to run a furnace is to make sure its filters are always in good condition. The filter’s main job is to trap debris in the air and prevent them from getting inside the blower.
Primarily, a furnace filter catches allergens floating through the air, such as pollen, dust, and other debris. But nothing purges the filters of these allergens after the filters trap them; they just stay there.
So, the filters will accumulate a lot of debris and become dirty over time. In addition, the items trapped by the filter will become more problematic in the long run as they’ll then become blockades on the filters.
A clogged filter will reduce the efficiency of your furnace. The reason is that your HVAC unit will have to work harder to produce its regular amount of heat. Unfortunately, it’ll also consume more energy, and the continual exertion can cause the unit to break down prematurely.
For instance, a dirty filter will prevent the unit from dissipating heat evenly, causing the unit to retain most of the heat. Such a situation may cause the blower to overheat.
Then, if your unit has safety systems, the increase in internal temperature will shut down the furnace. However, if your furnace doesn’t have safety systems, the heat will continue to increase. Then, it might get to a point where the heat exchangers start developing cracks.
So, it’s ideal to change your furnace filters at least once every 12 months to keep your furnace running efficiently. Of course, you want to consider the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the frequency of replacing the filters. Not only that, think about the filter model and the environment in which you’re using the furnace when deciding how often you should get new filters.
Remove Blockages from Air Vents and Registers
Another efficient way to run a furnace is to ensure the air vents are free of blockages. The air vents are the passages furnaces use to distribute warm air throughout a space. So, when you have something blocking them, it limits the ability of the furnace to dissipate heat through those channels.
So, check your apartment. Have you rearranged your interior setting recently? Check if you don’t have anything obstructing the registers or the baseboard heaters.
Sometimes, we’re so eager to try out a new interior design theme we pay less attention to how it affects some of the existing items in the space. So, it’s not uncommon for household items and curtains to block vents after you install a furnace in your home.
Avoid closing rooms or vents to prevent heat dissipation. Many people believe they can save heating load or energy consumption by doing so. Those are myths and have no reasonable basis.
However, the action can disturb the pressure balance within your home. Then, it’ll force your furnace to work harder to bring a balance to the air pressure.
Consequently, working harder will translate to more strain on the furnace. Then you’ll have to deal with higher energy consumption and increased utility bills (which is quite ironic). At worst, it’ll increase the risk of your furnace breaking down. Nonetheless, be sure to check out your vents and clean them regularly.
Programme the Thermostat for The Appropriate Season.
Another efficient way to run a furnace is to always put it in the right setting for specific periods of the year. Most people recommend programming your thermostat for the cold weather.
This recommendation makes sense since you never or rarely need the furnace during the summer and spring months. In addition, programming for the cold months will require you to set the thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature level.
The lower you put the temperature setting, the lesser the energy the furnace will consume and the lower your heating cost. Also, it’s good practice to always reduce the temperature in the home when nobody’s around. And if you’re going for a vacation during the winter, you don’t want to leave your heater blasting on high the entire time you’re away.
You can easily program a smart thermostat’s settings to correspond with household practices. For example, you can set low temperatures for periods when nobody will be home.
The more advanced the thermostat, the more options you have with it. You can even control some thermostats from your smartphones. How convenient is that?
Having such intelligent systems will enable you to run your furnace efficiently and effortlessly. They also offer innovative methods of monitoring the condition of the furnace. So, you’ll always be aware of the state of your HVAC unit. In addition, they’ll allow more customization and convenience instead of the general approach of the dial thermostats.
Related Article: Furnace Not Working: What to Do
Weatherize and Insulate the House
Air is fluid and very difficult to trap. As a result, warm air coming from your furnace will always try to escape from the confined space of your apartment. So, if your house has poor insulation or weatherization, it’ll be challenging to keep a constant temperature in the house.
The reason is the heated air will continue to escape through leak spots in drafty, uninsulated rooms.
Then, once the thermostat reads a temperature drop, it’ll kick back to work to put the heat back up. However, this situation creates a recurring start-stop cycle for the furnace, which is bad for energy consumption.
Needless to say, an efficient way to run your furnace will involve insulating the house. First, seal around the doors and windows with expanding foam. You can also use backer rods or weatherstripping for the job. Next, find and plug up leaks. Then, insulate your ceiling and attic to prevent the rising air from escaping.
It’s also worth noting that your interior setting and decoration impact weatherization. For example, having books cases, hanging quilts and artworks on your walls provide additional insulation. Having fluffy rugs on the floor is also a good idea. And you should consider investing in some thick curtains over your windows.
Seal HVAC Duct Joints
The most efficient furnaces transfer heat from one point to another without losing any of it. However, unsealed ducts can lose up to 20 percent of the air – which is costing your money to heat! Like we said earlier, the air is always looking to escape, and it does whenever it finds a route in loose duct joints. So, an efficient way to run a furnace will involve sealing every seam and screw head on your ductwork.
Fortunately, you only need ordinary duct tapes, duct mastic or furnace tape to do the job. With these materials, you can wrap an airtight barrier around your solid and flexible ducts.
The only downside is you can only apply this measure to the ducts within your reach. You can’t do much for ducts hidden in the walls or ceiling. For that, you’ll need to call in an aerosol duct sealing pro.
Install Airflow Dampers
As much as you may like to keep things warm even when you’re not home, it’s not advisable to heat a section of the home you aren’t using. Of course, we understand that there should be some level of warmth to prevent the faucets and pipes from freezing. However, there’s no need to keep spaces like the bedroom and dining area warm when you’re not home.
That said, it’s challenging to warm a select few areas in the house at the same time while leaving others cold. It’s often all or nothing with most HVAC systems. So how do you warm the rooms you need and leave the others out to keep the cost down?
You may be thinking of closing the registers. Bright idea, except it’s inefficient. Warm air will still travel a long way through the duct before it gets to the register blocking its path. And, it’ll be a tad too late to change its route by then. So, you’ll probably end up sending around the same amount of air as you would without closing the register.
A better idea is to find a way to block the air closer to the furnace. That’s where motorized dampers come in. You can install dampers at every channel in the ductwork, and you can control them through the thermostat. So with the dampers, you can cut off heat supply to the rooms that don’t need it.
That said, you want to call a pro for this project. It requires electrical installations, and you may not be able to handle all the technicalities that come with it. Nonetheless, barring the upfront cost of installing the dampers, this is a pretty efficient way to run a furnace and maximize its output.
Use a Secondary Heat Source
One more efficient way to run your furnace is to use a secondary heat source. Instead of having your HVAC system blasting on high every time you’re home, you can keep it on low and use another heater to supplement the temperature.
Consider investing in portable heaters, especially if you’re often the only one at home. For example, you can set up a space heater in your office during the day or a bedroom at night.
You can also go for heated rugs, wood stoves and fireplaces. These measures will save you utility costs and keep your HVAC unit in good working conditions for longer.
Use Your Oven More
We often advise people to use their microwave and toaster more in the summer to reduce heat production. Let’s just say it’s the opposite for winter.
Bake as much as you like, use the oven without reservations. It’s excellent weather for cooking so take full advantage of all the heating elements you have.
Your oven shares heat with its immediate area when you use it. So, instead of purchasing a rotisserie, roast a chicken yourself.
Have you practised your cake making lately? Don’t you miss making homemade cookies?
What about the new cookie recipes you’ve been planning to try? Not only will you be taking some load off your furnace, but you’ll also have a great homemade meal, and your house will smell great.
Don’t Let the Humidity Level Drop.
The higher the humidity level in a place, the better the heat retention in the environment. In other words, you’ll feel warmer for longer when there’s sufficient moisture in the air. This is because perspiration won’t evaporate quite as quickly due to the humidity. That’s why you always feel hotter in the summer. When the humidity levels are higher
If you pay attention to your environment, you’ll notice that the air feels dry in the cold months. That’s because the air is often colder when it lacks sufficient moisture.
The absence of moisture in the air also increases static electricity, dries up nasal passages and may result in sinus infections. The cold air is also adverse for wooden items, instruments, furniture and floors.
Then, of course, your HVAC system will have to do all the work to bring up the temperature of the air and sustain it. So you should consider purchasing a humidifier. The humidifier will help keep up the moisture levels in your apartment. Then your HVAC unit can function with greater efficiency.
Do regular Furnace Maintenance.
Talks of regular maintenance may sound cliche to you, but you can’t deny it’s the most efficient way to run a furnace. In fact, regular maintenance keeps all appliances running effectively for longer and not only a furnace.
We recommend scheduling a tune-up for your furnace in the fall, just before the start of winter. That way, the technicians will complete all repairs before the snow comes down.
Ideally, the technician should touch most of the activities discussed above during the maintenance session. At least, they’ll change dirty filters, unblock the vents and seal leaky ducts. Or you may just install a new furnace in your home at the start of winter. That’ll save a lot of trouble.
Related Article: Can a Furnace be Installed in a Bedroom Closet?
There’s no one efficient way to run a furnace. Instead, you want to combine several practices and activities to get the best out of your HVAC unit and keep your energy consumption low.
To that end, we recommend putting all the tips we discussed above into practice. Many of them are straightforward, and you can effortlessly implement them yourself. So go ahead and try them.
Or, you can contact us if you need more tips or help with making your HVAC unit efficient. Here at ALP Heating, we offer top-notch furnace maintenance services. We’ll love to help you get the best out of your furnace.
Contact us today for same-day furnace repair and maintenance services.