Winter is here. Besides the opportunity to make holiday memories with friends and family, it is also that time of year when we have to think about how to manage the cold. For many people, a furnace is the appliance they will turn to when creating a warm, cozy indoor atmosphere during the times when it’s too cold to venture outside.
The use of your furnace, however, comes with higher energy bills. Here are some helpful furnace efficiency tips to help you save energy and money this winter.
1. Upgrade the Furnace
Unlike many of the tips discussed here, this one is going to come with the highest price tag. That means you will need to do some planning if you decide to go this route. Still, sometimes a furnace is too old and outdated to deliver meaningful cost savings, no matter what you do.
Old furnaces have an energy efficiency rating ranging between 55% and 70%, while newer ones can realize up to 98.5% efficiency. Moving from a low to a higher efficiency furnace could cut your energy costs by as much as half. Reach out to a furnace installation service like callthegeneral.com/furnace-installation/ and transition to a newer, better furnace.
2. Replace the Air Filter
You should replace or at least clean your air filter every three months, at the minimum. During the winter when you are using the furnace more often, it’s a good idea to check on the air filter once a month to make sure it isn’t too dirty.
It’s best to start the winter on a clean slate, so replace the current filter just before the onset of the cold season. You can buy an air filter online or from your local home improvement store. Replacing the filter is relatively easy – pop out the old filter and slip in the new one.
3. Clear and Clean the Vents
It’s been months since the end of the last winter season, and a lot has probably happened in your home since then. So take a walk through the house and make sure your air vents are not obstructed by furniture or other household objects. When a vent is blocked, the furnace must work harder to push through and distribute heated air.
Once you confirm all vents are clear, clean the vents. To do that, turn off the furnace in case it’s already running, unscrew the vent covers and vacuum inside with the vacuum cleaner’s long attachment.
4. Clean the Furnace Unit
Dirt and dust are major hurdles to the efficient operation of your furnace. So once you are done with the vents, move to the main unit to make sure it is clean.
To ensure the unit is running optimally, remove the access panels. Next, use the vacuum’s long attachment to clean any dust and debris that may have accumulated since the last clean.
5. Adjust the Thermostat
To cut your energy costs over the winter, set your thermostat for 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you are awake then adjust it downwards by 7 to 10 degrees at bedtime. It may not feel like much change in the warmth of your home but can cut down your heating bill substantially.
According to the US Department of Energy, turning down the thermostat may save you up to 10% of your utility bill. Programmable thermostats make this easier to do. Depending on where you live, you may even be eligible for a rebate when you install a programmable thermostat.
6. Lifestyle Changes
Your furnace has to be at the center of your heating strategy during the winter. That does not, however, mean that you have to leave everything to this one appliance to stay warm. Doing that only makes your energy bills higher. You can also make some simple lifestyle changes to complement your heating system.
Start by wearing a sweater indoors instead of turning up the thermostat. Make use of comfy socks, and cozy pyjamas to minimize heat loss from the body’s extremities. Make it a habit to keep a blanket with you whenever you are sitting on the couch, and add an extra blanket or comforter to your bed for the winter months.
7. Get a Tune-Up
Irrespective of how good your car runs, failure to subject it to a regular tune-up will eventually lead to stalling. Furnaces, just like cars and any other equipment, are only as efficient as the frequency and quality of the maintenance they receive. This is not something you can do on your own. Have a furnace technician run a combustion analysis and energy tune-up.
They will use sophisticated diagnostic tools to examine your furnace and adjust for comfort, safety and optimal efficiency. This will keep the home warm, reduce your energy expenditure and extend your furnace’s lifespan. Depending on where you live, you may qualify for a rebate when you get a furnace tune-up.
You Can’t Throw It All Away
You can always cut down your heating costs to zero by dismantling and throwing away your furnace. But that is not an option for anyone, especially in areas where winter cold can not only cause great discomfort, but also poses a real threat to your life and health. Applying these tips can help you enjoy the warmth a furnace affords you, without endangering your financial health.