If you made a pie chart showing your home energy costs, the biggest piece of the pie would read “heating and cooling.”
Keeping your home warm each winter – and cool each summer – can account for more than a third of your annual energy usage.
And those energy bills can climb even higher if you’re using an inefficient heating system. Here are a few ways you can increase the performance of your gas furnace this winter.
1. Change the filters
Just like your car, your gas furnace needs a fresh air filter every so often to function at its best. According to the Department of Energy, operating a gas furnace with a dirty filter can reduce your heating system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent.
Changing the filter on a regular basis – aim for once a month – this will improve the air quality in your home and make your system perform with greater efficiency.
2. Pay attention to your thermostat
Making the temperature in your home just a few degrees cooler during the winter months can make a significant impact on your energy consumption. If it gets chilly, remember President Jimmy Carter’s advice from the 1970s - put on a sweater.
3. Install a programmable thermostat
If you have an older thermostat powering your heating system, you’re at the mercy of outdated technology. Invest in a programmable thermostat, which will allow you to keep temperatures down at times when the furnace doesn’t need to be firing, like when you’re asleep or at work.
4. Seal and insulate your ductwork
How much valuable air are you losing to leaks? Up to 20 percent, according to ENERGY STAR. But you can prevent leaks and keep that air in by sealing the seams and holes in your ductwork. Despite its name – and its reputation for handling any job – your best bet is not to use duct tape. Instead, look for a product called duct mastic, a gummy substance that comes in tubs and can be applied with a paintbrush. Water-based mastics tend to give off fewer fumes than solvent-based products.
Even with a proper seal in place, an older HVAC system might have ducts that aren’t insulated. This can lead to substantial heat loss for your home, as these ducts often run through more isolated parts of your home like attics and crawlspaces.
Installing insulation inside your ducts can make your home more comfortable while also reducing your energy costs. You can find duct insulation in tubes, blankets and wrap-on rolls.
5. Have your furnace checked before winter
You visit your doctor for a check-up every year. You take your car in for an oil change every few months. Your gas furnace should be no different: it needs a regular examination.
This should preferably be done long before winter comes, so that your technician can spot – and circumvent – any serious problems.
Is your furnace due for a pre-winter check-up? All Seasons Comfort Control can help. Contact our team to schedule your maintenance appointment to make sure your furnace performs at its peak this winter.