An efficient furnace keeps your home warm and comfortable during the cold winter months, but it doesn't do it on its own. Your furnace and heating system need your help so they can do the job they were designed to do. Follow these tips for helping your furnace operate at peak efficiency.
#1 Give it a Checkup
Your furnace needs regular cleaning and an inspection at least once a year. Schedule an appointment with your HVAC dealer several weeks before the heating season begins in your region. For most people, that means mid to late fall. Your HVAC service person will clean and replace worn or damaged parts necessary for optimal performance. This may include changing both the air and fuel filter, cleaning the head or gun and checking that all parts are working smoothly. It will also alert you to potential problems that may cause costly repairs in the future.
#2 Seal the Ductwork
The joints in your ductwork can loosen over time. When this happens heated air seeps out of the ductwork and into unheated areas of your home leaving less warm air for the living area. Go over your ductwork beginning at the top of the furnace and work your way throughout your home. Tighten the joints and add new screws if needed. Seal the joints with duct sealing mastic or adhesive-backed foil. Duct tape really isn't suited for the job as it tends to dry and crack as it ages.
#3 Insulate the Ductwork
After sealing the joints in your ductwork, it is time to insulate them to keep warm air from escaping through the sides. You can buy duct insulation at your local hardware or home improvement store. It comes in rolls, tubes or blankets that are easily wrapped around the ductwork. Take care to cover all ductwork from the furnace to the registers. This includes ductwork running through the basement or attic.
#4 Install a New Thermostat
It's easy to assume that if your home is not heating properly that the problem is the furnace. The truth is your thermostat may be part of the problem. Purchase a new thermostat and install it before heating season begins. These range from traditional thermostats that simply set the desired temperature for your home to smart thermostats that monitor your daily activity and adjust to suit your needs. A reliable thermostat can boost the efficiency of your furnace by controlling your energy use while keeping your home comfortable.
#5 Weatherize Your Home
Even the most efficient furnace will struggle to keep your house warm if all the heated air is leaking out through cracks around windows and doors. Take the time to weatherize and give your furnace a helping hand. Use weather stripping around windows and doors to seals leaks. Try adding heavy drapes to help block heat loss through the glass on cold winter days, but don't forget to open them and let the sun in during the day to take advantage of solar heat.
#6 Use Your Ceiling Fan
Turn your ceiling fan on low to help circulate the warm air from your furnace. While it won't actually raise the temperature in your home, it will make you feel warmer. Turn the fan to reverse or so that it rotates clockwise as you look up at it. This pulls the air from the room up towards the ceiling and pushes the warm air down and out towards the sides of the room. This helps to distribute the heated air from your furnace. Running the ceiling fan prevents cold drafts and helps your thermostat monitor the actual room temperature.
If you have concerns about your furnace or think that it is not operating as it should, call an HVAC service person from a company like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc. Many provide a free consultation and can suggest improvements to get the most out of your furnace.