Everybody wants to “Go Green” and save a little money on operating costs. Here are five Green tips for furnace repair:
1. Keep ducts and filters clean.
Yes, you’ve seen this tip in other places around this web site, but did you realize it was an energy saver? Clogged air ducts and vents make it hard for warm air to get through and cause the heater to work harder, wasting more energy. Breathing dust and mold spores can even trigger allergy reactions that some people mistake for cold or flu symptoms, so they crank up the thermostat! A better way to keep everyone comfortable is to vacuum-clean vents each week and change filters each month during the winter.
2. Seal and insulate ducts.
Ducts that run through an unheated attic, basement, garage, crawl space, etc., can be big energy wasters if they’re not sealed and insulated. Basically, after the furnace has heated air, an unsealed duct running through an unheated basement is cooling that air again, forcing the furnace to work overtime to deliver warm air to the rooms you want to heat. Insulating ducts is usually a cheap, simple, do-it-yourself project.
3. Stop the draft.
Cold spots in a centrally heated home may indicate places where a lot of cold air is leaking in, hot air is leaking out, and your heater is wasting energy trying to heat up the great outdoors. When checking for drafts, remember that you need some air exchange, and it’s normal for hot air to rise so that temperatures will be higher just below the ceiling than they are just above the floor. If you can feel cold spots, the explanation is usually easy to find. Caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows, installing storm windows outside old single-pane windows, and fixing damaged walls and insulation can save a lot of expensive heating energy.
This is a more valuable tip in some parts of the world than in others. If you live in a place with lovely, lush, green plant growth everywhere, you are probably accustomed to relatively high humidity. If people seem grumpy, fussy, itchy, always complaining that it’s too hot or too cold, the air in your home is probably humid. Though furnaces tend to dehumidify the air, in mild weather you may get more comfort at a lower cost by using a dehumidifier rather than turning up the furnace.
5. Replace an old furnace.
Look for the Energy Star, but be aware that the Energy Star is awarded to the most efficient devices in a class. An appliance in the wrong class may have an Energy Star yet still be less than ideal for you. Talk to a professional about the type and size of new furnace that will work best in your home. It’s very important that the new furnace be properly installed. Incorrect installation may cause even an efficient furnace to waste up to 30% of the energy it consumes.