Heating and cooling comprise the majority of energy use in American homes. This means it has a more significant environmental impact than any other use of energy as well as a bigger impact on our bank accounts. It also means this is the area where paying attention to efficiency can have the greatest effect.
Being armed with as much knowledge as possible will help you to have the tools to improve the efficiency of your home. As we move into cooler weather, what should we know about furnace efficiency, and how can we maximize it? Here’s the information you need.
Electric furnaces have a perfect energy use ratio, meaning that 100% of the energy used is converted directly to heat. Gas furnace efficiency varies widely. While older gas furnace efficiency was 70% or below, today’s models range from 85-98.5%. To achieve an Energy Star rating, they must have an efficiency of at least 90%.
Do keep in mind, though, that this does not mean electric furnaces are less expensive to operate. Electricity is generally a somewhat more expensive energy source than natural gas. The source of your electricity may also factor into your understanding of an electric furnace’s efficiency. If your electricity comes from solar panels, that has a much lower environmental impact than if it comes from a coal plant.
Improving Furnace Efficiency
There are two things you can do to make sure your furnace is operating at peak efficiency. The first is changing the air filter every 1-3 months, which helps maintain the airflow necessary for the system to work without excess strain. The second is getting annual maintenance. Your technician will clean and lubricate your furnace for smooth operation and make any necessary adjustments.
Improving Home Efficiency
You may be able to lower your thermostat significantly if you take some steps to make the most of that heat. Low-speed, clockwise-rotating ceiling fans better distribute the heat, letting sunshine in the windows warms via the greenhouse effect, and better insulating your home and sealing up drafts will keep that heat in. If your ducts leak, get those sealed: you could be losing 30% of your heat through them!
Many furnace troubles, left unrepaired, cause the furnace to work harder and thus consume more fuel. This means higher utility bills and more negative environmental impact. As soon as you suspect a furnace problem, get furnace repair in Fresno, CA to fix the problem before it gets worse and to save yourself from spikes in your utility bills.
Consider whether natural gas or electricity is the best efficiency choice for you. If your furnace is aging, it will gradually decrease in efficiency, but a new furnace will be more efficient than your old one was—even when it was brand-new—because of recent advancements in HVAC technology.
Make sure your furnace filter is changed frequently and that you get maintenance every single year. Notice the signs of a problem—odd noises, shortened heating cycles, insufficient or uneven heat, or anything else out of the ordinary—and get repairs right away. And take advantage of the other things you can do to keep your home cozy without raising the thermostat.
We strive to provide honest answers and solutions to the problems our customers’ experience while remaining highly competitive in price, and offer the fastest turnaround you can find! Contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning to schedule service or sign up for Mr. Cool’s Super Saver Program.