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Everyday Things That Decrease Your Furnace Efficiency

A Couple have cold on the sofa at home with winter coat with baby

On those chilly winter mornings, your furnace is supposed to keep your home warm and cozy. This is an easy job when your heating system runs at its optimal efficiency. However, when your furnace is not properly cared for, efficiency will be compromised. In some cases, improper maintenance can lead to your furnace sustaining damage or a need for a new unit entirely.

Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes people make daily. Do not overlook the importance of these issues when it comes to your furnace’s functionality.


1. Open Windows and Doors

One of the most common sources of furnace performance issues is an open window in the household. While you may love the fresh outdoor air circulating throughout your home, this can lead to a significant loss in unit efficiency. After all, opening the windows lets the hot air to leak out of your house. This puts more pressure on your furnace. It will have to cycle longer and more frequently to make up for the cold air intrusion through any open windows or doors. If you need to air out a room or leave an exterior door open for a long time, turn off your furnace system until you can close it.


2. High Thermostat Settings

We all have our own preference when it comes to the temperature in our home. Even within the same household, you will have some who want it hot while others thrive in cooler environments. Some temperatures are better than others when it comes to reducing your energy bill and optimizing the efficiency of your HVAC unit. Cooler temperature settings in the winter are often best for increased energy efficiency, keeping your heating bill low and reducing strain on your heating system.

A temperature of approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended to keep your heating bill as low as possible. You should also consider setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away from home or sleeping. Running your heating system just 7 degrees below your ideal temperature during these times can save you up to 10% a year on heating costs.

You’ll also keep your furnace or heating system from being overworked when away at work or cuddled under the covers at night. Sleeping in colder temperatures may not seem appealing at first, but studies show that the quality of your sleep is improved when the temperature is kept low during these hours. Your body naturally cools down during the night as part of your circadian rhythm, so sleeping in a colder environment assists with this process and reduces the chances of a disrupted sleep cycle.


3. Failing to Replace Filters

The most common reason for an inefficient furnace is a dirty filter. Most people do not realize their filter needs to be routinely changed, so they leave the same one for months, or even years. If you do not change your heating system’s filter on a regular basis, it not only hinders the unit’s energy efficiency, but it can also cause long-term damage and reduce the air quality in your home. Check the unit for specifications, but the filter should be changed every few months, if not at least once a year.


4. Lack of Maintenance

HVAC maintenance is crucial for keeping your heating and cooling systems running at peak performance. When a trained technician has a chance to inspect behind the scenes of your equipment, clean and lubricate parts, check for dirty air filters, and make minor parts replacements and repairs, your system will operate as efficiently as possible. And when it does not have to run as long to heat or cool your home, you will draw less power from the grid.

You can maintain your furnace efficiency by scheduling annual maintenance appointments with a professional. They can check your filtration system and determine whether any damage is present. They will be able to recommend the best plan of action for fixing any broken parts. Regular maintenance can also reduce the amount of damage your furnace sustains, so your heating system runs efficiently for as long as possible.

You can also practice maintenance at home between your annual checkups to ensure your furnace is in good working order.


5. Not Enough Insulation

If your home is not well-insulated, a lot of your heated air is making it outside through the attic, vents, cracks, and holes. It is important to ensure your attic is insulated well and you will likely need a professional to come in and do it for you. Older homes, in particular, are at greatest risk of needing new insulation due to aging, dirt, and pests.

Insulation can also deteriorate over time due to the elements, pest infestations and old age. This means that your furnace will start working harder a little bit at a time, which can be difficult to notice right away. That is why it is essential to ensure your home is adequately insulated and replace insulation when it becomes damaged.


6. Improperly Located Equipment

When a thermostat is in direct sunlight, it will not send accurate temperature readings to the system. Some thermostats hang on walls that get a lot of sun exposure throughout the day. Make sure to keep windows covered to avoid this issue. When your thermostat reads higher, the air conditioning system will run for longer periods of time in an attempt to lower the indoor temperature, which wastes more energy. If your thermostat is not placed in direct sunlight but still seems to be reading the temperature incorrectly, you might need to replace the unit.


Final Thoughts

As cold weather approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the chilly months. Winterizing is generally a task that can be done relatively inexpensively but will make a big difference in how comfortable your home is and could end up saving you money on energy bills, too. In fact, many very effective home weatherproofing jobs are something that homeowners can complete without professional help.

If your system needs repair or inspection before winter, call us on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.

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