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5 Common Home Heating Myths

While scouring through information sources, one may come across various tips on cutting down on heating costs. However, some of these claims are just plain wrong, oversimplified or long-standing myths about reducing heating expenditure. To separate the wheat from the chaff, it’s essential that one knows the most common home heating myths.

 

Sealing ductwork

Despite what the name may suggest, duct tape isn’t any good when it comes to sealing ductwork. There are various tapes that can be used to seal ducts, but normal duct tape doesn’t make the cut. It usually gets old and falls off with time as heating cycles go by.

 

The Fireplace

A fireplace isn’t the best way to heat up a home. The cost of paying for firewood, along with the fact that the fireplace gobbles up indoor air that’s already heated only to shoot it out the chimney, means that this wouldn’t go hand in hand with realizing financial savings. The only exception is when one only wants to heat a single room.

 

Programmable Thermostats

Such devices require a little calibration, though the simpler ones work to adjust the temperature at pre-set times. In the default mode, it could realize energy savings because it turns off heating during the night. However, it could be counterproductive for houses with heat pumps as such devices don’t go well with varying temperatures. To enjoy the convenience of such a device, it needs to be well calibrated. Alternatively, one could opt for smarter gadgets which learn how the home works in order to make the necessary adjustments.

 

Cranking it Up

There’s also the belief that cranking up the thermostat in a cold house helps heat the indoors quicker. However, furnaces work in a binary manner, meaning that apart from turning them on, no further tinkering will help heat the house faster. The only result from cranking the thermostat will be heating up the house beyond the desirable temperature and wasting energy.

 

Constant Heating

Another common misconception is that it’s cheaper to keep the home at a constant temperature, even when it’s unoccupied. This doesn’t always apply, except in homes with heat pumps. Running the system less means lower energy consumption. During winter, one could set the thermostat to about 70 degrees when they’re awake and set it lower when sleeping or away from home. For each degree set back on the thermostat for an eight hour period, one could save about 1% of their annual heating bill, with a 10-degree drop pushing the savings up tenfold.

 

Windows

There’s the tale that replacing drafty windows with more energy efficient ones helps save energy. Due to the high cost of this undertaking, the break-even point could take decades to reach. Better ways of conserving energy include air sealing, insulation and improving the HVAC unit’s efficiency. However, one could consider more efficient windows if they’re renovating for cosmetic reasons. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Reduce Home Heating Costs This Winter

Everyone wants to save money and finding ways to reduce home heating costs during the winter is a great place to start. Fuel costs vary by region but regardless of where you live, a substantial portion of your household budget goes toward maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature.

If your home’s HVAC system is more than 15 years old, it is time to start thinking about purchasing updated equipment. This is a good time to consider switching to an alternate fuel source. Natural gas is the least expensive fuel, followed by oil, propane and electricity.

Even if your system is up-to-date, you can improve its efficiency by making sure it is properly sealed. Experts estimate that up to 40 percent of heated and cooled air leaks through ducts. Aerosealing is a new technology that blows sealant particles into the ducts. The particles produce airtight bonds over any leaks in the system.

Lowering your thermostat can also improve your home’s HVAC system efficiency. Set the thermostat for 68 degrees Fahrenheit for occupied rooms during the day. At night, set your thermostat to 60 degrees for optimal efficiency.

Making sure you have adequate attic insulation is another way to save money on energy bills during the winter. Your attic should have eight inches of cellulose insulation or a minimum of 11 inches of rock wool or fiberglass insulation. You can hire an HVAC technician to add more insulation if you have less than the minimum required. A technician can also make sure all openings in the attic floor, including those near electrical boxes and plumbing vents are sealed to eliminate drafty rooms.

It is a good idea to have a qualified HVAC technician service your system at least once per year. Many companies offer affordable service contracts. This saves you the hassle of trying to remember when to call for annual service. The technician will inspect the entire system and can save you money by finding small problems before they become big ones.

Throughout the year, you can reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs by changing or cleaning the air filters approximately once per month. Following these tips can help any homeowner save money and extend the lifespan of the home’s HVAC system.

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Gas Furnace Maintenance Practices

Having a heating system that is in good condition is important. It enables you to have peace of mind knowing that your house will be kept warm at all times. To keep the heating system in good condition, one has to regularly clean it and carry out some maintenance practices. This is only possible if one is familiar with the central part of the heating system which is the gas furnace.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping the heating system clean and in good condition not only prolongs the life of the furnace, but also lowers the monthly utility bills. Maintenance of the system involves many intricate procedures. Most of them should be done by a licensed and certified technician since natural gas is highly explosive. However, this does not mean that homeowners should leave all the work to the technician. There are several tasks that one can perform so as to ensure efficient operation of the furnace.

Maintenance practices should be performed regularly. There are some that should be done monthly and others that should be done just before the winter season, when the heating system will be used a lot. Here are some of the cleaning and maintenance services that can be performed by the homeowner.

Filters

The filters should be kept clean at all times. If they are plastic filters, the homeowner should vacuum and wash them with detergent and water. Once they are clean, he or she should air-dry them thoroughly and place them back in the furnace. If they are cardboard filters he or she should discard them when they are dirty and replace them with other new similar filters.

Cleaning electronic filters is more complex. The homeowner should first remove the filter and follow the maintenance instructions that came with it. It is important for one to follow the instructions otherwise the filter might get damaged.

Lubrication

The furnace has moving parts inside it, such as the indoor blower motor and induced draft motor. Those parts are normally in motion and must be lubricated at all times. This involves opening the furnace, which is a risky procedure. Therefore, the task of lubricating the furnace parts should left to a licensed and certified technician. All motors with oiling ports should be lubricated every month or regularly depending on how long the furnace operates.

Burner and Heating Components

Furnaces operate for many years without malfunctioning. However, it is important to schedule maintenance appointments with a technician. He or she should inspect the heat exchanger passages, the thermostat setting, the burners and he venting system to ensure that there are no signs of corrosion.

Considerations

Before hiring a technician, it is important to check if he or she is licensed. One should also carry out maintenance services even when there is no technician. However, if there is a serious problem or major maintenance services that need to be done on the gas furnace, one should hire a professional.