The heating, ventilation and cooling system (HVAC) generally consumes between 40 and 50 percent of the electrical power in a house, so the efficiency of the HVAC system will dramatically effect the overall power draw of the home, and the cost of your bill. AC and heater units can be compared on a multitude of dimensions, but efficiency is one of the most important factors.
If your home is colder than usual this winter and the heater seems to be working fine, here are some easy things you can do to make sure your home stays as efficient as possible and help keep the heat in your home where it belongs. In addition to lowering your heating bill, your heater will run less often, putting less wear on the unit and extending it’s lifetime.
If you see any cracks in the seals on the inside or the outside make sure to re-seal all of the windows and doors. This is a common home maintenance project that should be checked every couple of years and addressed as needed.
It will settle over time and occasionally critters will get up there and remove or just move it around, causing heat loss. Spray insulation is inexpensive and an easy DIY project. You can rent equipment at most Home Depot or Lowe’s locations. Creating a thicker barrier to your home’s ceiling will keep more heat inside.
These easily fit at the base of doors and keep the heat from escaping from cracks. The heater is designed to maintain the heat in your home and will have trouble keeping up if there is too much warm air escaping under the door.
Make sure to open your curtains during the day if the sun is out, as this will allow the light and natural warmth to come in. At night you should close the curtains as well to trap the heat in and add a barrier between you and the cold outside air. This will help your furnace maintain a warmer temperature during the day. If your curtains are thin or blinds are worn, upgrade to thicker curtains and/ or thick wooden blinds. This strategy will also save you money on your utility bill by reducing the need for lights.
This is probably the most important tip: Make sure to check your air filter monthly and change as needed. A dirty air filter will do a number on your heating system. Lack of air flow on the furnace can cause the system to overheat and occasionally lock out, causing the system to work intermittently. It also places extra stress on the fan, leading to premature wear.
Use the proper settings for winter weather. The best way to optimize the efficiency of your system while you’re away is to keep the setting within 4 degrees of where you’re comfortable while you’re home. If you have a programmable thermostat, there are typically 4 time settings a day the temperature can be changed.
For example, if you are comfortable at 72 degrees, in the morning set your thermostat to 72 degrees 2 hours before you get up. Then, decrease the temperature to 68 an hour after everyone leaves. About 2 hours before coming home set the thermostat back to 72. Finally, an hour after everyone goes to sleep, turn the thermostat down to 68, as you will typically be covered and warm enough without depending solely on the furnace.