Forced-air heating is one of the most effective ways to heat your home because it is fast and creates a lot of heat. However, while forced-air furnaces may be great for creating a toasty home, they aren't great on your wallet because they are often extremely inefficient. There are, however, a few tricks you can use to help boost furnace efficiency in your home.
Add Insulation to the Home's Attic
Insulation is one of the best ways to keep your home naturally warmer during the winter by preventing the amount of heat lost through exterior walls and the attic. Unfortunately, many homes have insufficient insulation, especially in the attic. Your attic should have about 10 to 14 inches of insulation (depending on the type). Check inside your attic to see your levels, and if they are lacking, add more insulation. If you have ducts (which transport the heated air) in the attic, wrap them in insulation to reduce heat loss while the air travels through the attic.
Seal Exterior Holes, Gaps, and Cracks
Small holes and gaps in your home's exterior may not seem like a problem, but they can let out small amounts of hot air, which reduces the overall temperature inside your home and creates drafts. These small holes are common around windows and doors, but you may also have holes or gaps from pipes, cords, wires, etc. passing through the exterior wall of the home. Caulk works well to cover these holes, but it will need to be routinely reapplied. Don't forget to check the weatherstripping around doors and windows. Replace any that is damaged or missing to create a better seal.
Use the Ceiling Fan to Move Hot Air
If you have ceiling fans, you likely use them in the summer to cool yourself, but you may be able to use them during the winter too to improve heating efficiency. When heated air enters the living space, it slowly begins to rise because hot air naturally rises. This causes the temperature in the lower portion of the living space to drop, and you get cold. If you have a ceiling fan that can be set to reverse, however, it blows cold air upward toward the ceiling. This cold air forces the hot air back down where you want it.
Install an Upgraded Thermostat
One commonly neglected area of the furnace is the thermostat, but it is incredibly important. The thermostat is the only way you can tell the furnace what to do. An older thermostat may not be as reliable, forcing you to use more heat than you'd like. You can also purchase a programmable thermostat. These can be set to automatically turn the heat on or off, depending on when you leave for work, get home, etc.
Reduce Drafts From Cold Windows
Cold windows can also create drafts inside the home. Unless you have double-paned windows, your windows likely get extremely cold to the touch during the winter because the cold air outside cools the glass. When the warm air inside the home touches the window, it cools, and as hot air rises, cold air falls. This creates a small vacuum, which is quickly filled with warm air, creating a cycle of cold air, or a draft. You can fix this problem by installing double-paned windows, but they can be costly. A cheaper alternative is to install insulated drapes to use during the winter. They stop most of the hot air inside your home from touching the cold windows.
If you have forced-air heating and you are sick of seeing your energy bills continue to climb, consider what you can do to improve energy efficiency. Of course, the best way to keep your furnace working well is with regular maintenance and repairs. So, if your system is showing signs of damage, or you just want a good tune-up, contact a technician who offers heating repair services in your area today.