Forced-air heating is a very effective way to keep your home warm during the winter. However, without regular maintenance and repairs, forced-air heating can become inefficient, causing you to spend more for energy.
If your furnace is in good condition, but you are still paying too much for heating, check out these four tips to help boost heating efficiency.
1. Get Your Ducts Cleaned
Overtime, dust and debris collects in your ducts; they build along the walls of the ducts, causing the pathway to narrow. However, the system continues to force the same amount of air through the narrowing duct. This puts unnecessary strain on the system, which causes it to become less efficient or to even break down sooner.
You may be able to clean some parts of the vents yourself, but to fully remove all allergens, dust, animal hair, etc., you'll need a professional.
During the cleaning process, a professional may also be able to tell you about (or correct) any gaps and holes in the ducts, which is helpful as these problems can also reduce efficiency by allowing air to escape before it reaches you.
2. Add Insulation
Boost energy efficiency in your home by adding insulation, which will improve its natural insulating properties so the house stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
To determine if you may need more insulation, check the attic. In most cases, your attic should have an R-value of about R-38, which may be about 10 to 14 inches of insulation, depending on the type of insulation.
If you don't have enough insulation in your attic, simply add some. However, this situation may indicate you need more insulation in the walls, floors, and ceilings, which can be difficult to add yourself.
If you have exposed ducts in the attic, basement, etc., then get them insulated too to reduce heat loss and heat gain.
3. Start Using Ceiling Fans
If you have ceiling fans, you may already use them during the summer to help keep you cool. However, your fans can also be used in the winter to boost heating efficiency. To do this, your fan must have a reverse setting, so it can spin in the opposite direction, which will cause the fan to blow cold air toward the ceiling.
This setup may seem useless, but it helps dislodge trapped, hot air. Hot air naturally rises, so when you turn on the furnace, a lot of the heat heads for the ceiling, which isn't helpful for keeping you warm. The burst of cold air forces this hot air back down to your living space so you use less energy to stay warm.
4. Light a Fire in the Fireplace
Finally, if you have a fireplace, you have an extremely cheap way to help heat your home. Fireplaces can be a great way to boost the natural heat inside the home so you use your furnace less. However, you should not use a fireplace as a total replacement for your furnace as it can be dangerous to run them for too long.
If you haven't used your fireplace in a while, or ever, get it cleaned and inspected for damage. Fireplaces and chimneys are prone to developing buildup, which can be extremely dangerous if it ignites.
In addition, a damaged chimney or fireplace may not vent properly, allowing dangerous gasses and smoke to collect in your home.
There are many ways you can improve heating efficiency, but the best way is to take good care of your entire system, including the ducts. If you are ready to start seeing less energy spending each month, contact us at Carolina Ductmasters today so we can schedule a duct cleaning.