How to help your furnace heat your home more efficiently this winter
Being comfortable in your own home is something everyone should be able to enjoy. In the winter, this means making sure your house’s furnace is operating efficiently and can keep your home at a comfortable, consistent temperature.
But not every homeowner does themselves – or their home’s furnace – any favors. There are a few things that need to be done on a regular basis to keep furnaces running like they should. On top of that, there are also a few tips and tricks that every person should know that can help give home heating systems a bit of a boost.
The end result of those tips and keeping tabs on the condition of your furnace will be not only a warmer, more well-heated house, but also a lower heating bill each month.
Make sure doors are sealed
Doors leading outside are one of the primary culprits of letting in cold air. That’s why you must ensure that all exterior doors are properly sealed.
Each door between the warm interior of your home and the cold winter elements should have four seals. These seals, which should be found along all four sides, are what keep that cold air outside and not slowly leaking into your house.
Now, doors should already have seals on them, but they become worn out and cracked over time, so it’s always a good idea to check every year, especially as winter gets closer.
You can easily find replacement weather stripping to help seal off your doors at many hardware stores and other retailers.
Install a programmable thermostat
Thermostats control your home’s furnace, instructing it when to turn on and provide heat to your home and when to turn off after the desired temperature has been reached. Some homes are equipped with thermostats that the homeowner must set manually. This means that if you want the temperature indoors to be at a certain, then you must adjust the thermostat yourself.
However, that is not the most efficient way to heat a home and save your furnace some of the trouble along the way. Instead, install a programmable thermostat. These can be set to have the home heated to specific and different temperatures throughout the day. Some of these thermostats are even compatible with smartphone apps that allow you to control their settings from anywhere.
This is useful for those times when you do not need your home to be at your exact desired temperature – when you are not home or at night when you are sleeping, for example.
The real benefit of having a programmable thermostat, though, is that these different temperature settings can save you money when your energy bill arrives each month.
Switch the spin direction on ceiling fans
Here’s a quick and easy step every homeowner can take:
While ceiling fan blades should turn counterclockwise in the spring and summer to circulate air, in the cooler months, they should be switched to spin clockwise. This pushes the warm air that has risen toward the ceiling back toward everyone in the room.
Consider secondary heating sources
Another method of giving your furnace an efficiency boost – and saving on heating costs – is investing in secondary heating sources. These sources of extra heat can include fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and even electric blankets.
A fireplace can be used to heat specific parts of a home. They are also quite attractive and comforting this time of year.
However, fireplaces are also not the most efficient means of heating a home for anything outside of a short span of time. This is because heat from a fire will escape an open flue, so be sure to close it as soon as possible once the fireplace has cooled completely.
If you do elect to use your home’s fireplace, then make sure to have it and its chimney cleaned regularly to lower the risk of fires and other accidents.
Unlike fireplaces, wood-burning stoves do not lose as much heat and could be considered a more efficient secondary heating source. Though they don’t have quite the same aesthetic qualities, they are still popular options.
However, as with fireplaces, chimneys that are connected to wood-burning stoves should be cleaned regularly and the stoves themselves should be monitored when fires are active.
Space heaters used to have a bad reputation, one that was unfortunately deserved. In the past, they used to be a major cause of fires because they were left unattended. But today’s space heaters have become much more advanced and safer to operate.
For example, some of today’s heaters now have features that turn them off if tipped over and others also have settings that will turn them off if they become too hot.
Still, it’s best not to rely on a space heater to heat a room for an extended period of time or at times when you are not able to keep an eye on them.
Electric blankets are useful for cold nights when you need just a little extra warmth. They are perfect for using as another layer of heat and can help you resist turning up the heat in the entire house.
Seal heating ducts
You might be surprised to know that a key area where your home loses heat is through distribution from the furnace and through ductwork. So, if you are concerned with optimizing furnace efficiency, then consider sealing heating ducts. This can prevent lost heat from leaking out of ductwork before it is transported to rooms throughout the house.
Making sure ductwork is properly sealed will keep the warm air on the right path and flowing through to the rest of the house. This will help the furnace not have to run as long, leading to less runtime and lower heating bills.
Get your home’s furnace operating at peak efficiency
Each of these tips are useful for increasing a furnace’s efficiency, but only a professional technician can give your furnace a deep cleaning and inspection to make sure it is running as intended.
Contact the pros at Comfortec Heating, Cooling and Plumbing today to get your home’s furnace serviced or repaired.
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