It's incredibly frustrating to see your heating bills rise, but before you run out and get a new furnace, make sure you know the real problem. Even furnaces in great condition can become inefficient due to bad ducts or poor insulation. Check out these five tips to boost efficiency without buying a new furnace.
Add Some Insulation to the Attic
The building materials that make up your home offer some protection from the heat and cold; however, they have a relatively low R-value, which measures insulating properties. This is why the exterior walls, ceilings, floors, and attics of homes are filled with insulation. Too many homes, however, don't have enough. In homes with unfinished attics, you can check the insulation levels by just taking a peak inside. There should be about 10 to 14 inches of insulation; if not, add more.
Wrap Insulation Around Ducts
Another important place to add insulation, if there isn't enough, is around the ducts that carry the heated air throughout the home to various vents. You don't need to worry about the vents inside your living room ceiling or office walls. Instead, focus on the vents that travel through non-heated zones like the attic, basement, crawlspace, etc. These areas get cold during the winter, which cools the ducts and the air inside.
Seal Holes in Ducts and Exterior Walls
Ducts can also allow air to leak. About 20 to 30 percent of the air heated and sent by your furnace doesn't even reach the living spaces because of gaps and holes in the ducts. Use metal tape to repair any holes. Similarly, check for any holes around windows and pipes that pass through exterior walls. A good way to repair and insulate the holes is with spray foam insulation. The foam expands as it dries to fill in every nook and cranny.
Clean Inside Ducts and Vents
One last thing your ducts need is a cleaning. Slowly, dust builds in the ducts. Not only can this worsen asthma and allergies, but it also strains your system. The narrowed ducts make the system work harder to force the air to the vents. You can clean the vents and the ducts near the vents yourself, but a professional clean is best to remove dust and pests.
Cover Your Windows
If your area doesn't see much sunlight during the winter, keeping your curtains open can be a huge waste of money. Sunlight directly hitting the window can boost heating efficiency, but on cold days, the heat inside your home is affected by the cold windows. This is particularly a problem if you have single-paned windows. The one pane of glass becomes cold from the outside air, creating cold spots inside when the hot air touches the window. Getting insulated drapes can help block some of the transfer of heat.
There are many reasons why your furnace may not be working regularly. Regardless of the problem, and regardless of how new your system is, it still needs regular maintenance and repairs. For more information about maintaining your furnace, contact companies like Summit Heating and Air Conditioning.