Easy Ways To Maintain Furnace Efficiency
Your furnace is truly the heart of your home. Whether you are relying on it for heat during the cold, winter months, or looking for a steamy shower with the help of your water heater, it is important to have your furnace running on all cylinders.
There are a few things you can do as a homeowner to make sure that your furnace is not only operating consistently but stays efficient and isn’t dragging down your bank account with large energy bills.
If you have a furnace that’s making knocking or clunking noises, it may be time to call in a technician to take a look at the issue. Knocking or clunking sounds are normally an issue with a furnace’s fan. If a blade on the fan gets loose or misaligned, it starts hitting the walls of the unit, making for the knocking noise. Another source may be a cracked or loose belt, which will bang into other components around it.
You may hear a slight humming noise on ignition. However, if that humming continues, your furnace may have a fan that is wearing out or a motor that is nearing the end of its lifespan.
If the loud noise is more of a scraping or screeching noise, it means a piece of metal is dragging across the metal casing of the system. If the noise is nonstop, get a technician in to deal with that issue and fix your hot water heater or heating system as soon as possible.
Beyond furnace noise, an HVAC system needs regular cleaning and maintenance by a homeowner. It is important to check your air filter monthly, especially during heavy use in the winter and summer. You should change the filter every three months to avoid any allergens or sediment buildup from getting through your ductwork and compromising the efficiency of the system.
Sediment can compromise the ability of a burner or heater to function properly, not having to wait what feels like an eternity for your water to warm up. Without a properly functioning hot water faucet, water can actually grow dangerous bacteria that can lead to harmful illnesses.
Keeping warm during the winter months can also be done with a new friend. There’s no greater cuddle buddy than a new pet. Companionship is one of the leading reasons why everyone should have a pet since friendships and a strong bond can keep you feeling cared for. Pets, like a puppy or kitten, have been shown to boost the mood of their owners, and in some cases, that new family member can help with certain mood disorders.
Retrofitting or Replacing Your Furnace
Furnaces and boilers can be retrofitted to make them more efficient. These upgrades improve the safety of older systems, with retrofits being fuel-specific for gas or oil-fired systems. Other retrofitting options that can improve a heater’s energy efficiency include installing programmable thermostats and upgrading ductwork.
Retrofitting should be carefully considered, especially if a furnace is likely to need a full replacement in a few years. It may be worth it just to replace your boiler instead. Energy efficiency upgrades and a new heating system can often cut your fuel bills and your furnace’s pollution output in half. Newer systems are not as oversized as older units, with some heaters available under the Energy Star program through the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.
Before purchasing a new HVAC system or water heater, have a registered technician take a look at the unit. This should be the first step in deciding to pay for repairs, retrofitting, or replacement.