Winter weather is a nice reprieve from hot summers and blustery fall weather. Blankets of white snow and crisp air are welcomed with great anticipation each year. However, the beautiful but cold weather outside isn’t what you want to experience inside your home. Optimal furnace efficiency should keep you warm and toasty with regularity all winter long. Homeowners and landlords in the Denver metro area need to be able to count on fully functioning furnaces for efficient and consistent heating during even the longest nights of winter. Find out the top nine tips to help you ensure your furnace is fully efficient before the coldest days of winter roll around.
Regularly Change Filters
Changing your filter is one of the most straightforward ways to help your furnace remain efficient. Don’t feel frustrated and give up if you struggle to find your filter immediately. Many filters are housed in different, not-so-easy-to-access locations on the furnace. Depending on the furnace filter that you select and the living situation in your home, the length of time between filter changes may vary. As a general rule of thumb, landlords and homeowners in the Denver metro area should replace their furnace filters at least once every 90 days, roughly equivalent to once each season. However, keep in mind that if you experience allergies or have pets in the home, you may want to consider changing it more often. Some people even swear my monthly filter changes.
Keep Return Vents Clear
When placing furniture in your home for the first time, a parent or friend may have warned you never to block the vents. Keeping furniture and clothes away from vents will keep heating and cooling flowing freely through the house as it should. This sage advice is accurate, but return vents are often left out of the transfer of wisdom. Return vents take air from inside your home and ensure that the furnace has enough to work correctly. The furnace needs a steady supply of air delivered to it to blow air through the house at the correct temperatures efficiently. Keeping return vents clear ensures that your furnace will not overheat and can continue to work correctly.
Keep Humidifiers Running
Some like it hot. Running a humidifier will make the air feel less cool and stale. Humidifiers can also combat the dry skin and occasional nosebleeds that homeowners may experience during the winter months. Adding a little humidity rather than a few more degrees on the thermostat will help your skin stay supple, and your utility bills remain manageable. Some homeowners install humidity control in their homes, while others opt for the fill-and-go plug-in appliances to achieve increased humidity.
Say Yes to Ceiling Fans
Another simple approach to maintaining your furnace efficiency is saying yes to ceiling fans. Even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, keeping your ceiling fans on during the winter months will not only improve the temperature in the room that you’re in but also help regulate your heating bills. Ceiling fans are designed for a few different purposes. One is to keep you cool, but another goal of ceiling fans is to circulate air in a room purposefully. Fans run counterclockwise to help air rise during the warm months. Running your fan clockwise during the winter months will push warmer air down rather than letting it rise. Using fans as a supplemental aid helps furnace efficiency.
Say No to Exhaust Fans
Ceiling fans are a good choice, but exhaust fans during the winter are not. Exhaust fans like those traditionally found in kitchens or bathrooms suck the air out of your home. Exhaust fans have no distinction on whether or not the air is cool or warm, and the only objective is to remove air from the room it is installed in. Running exhaust fans can increase the strain on your furnace since it is constantly trying to replace and reheat the lost air. Minimizing the use of exhaust fans to the best of your ability during the winter months can help boost furnace efficiency.
Professionally Seal Attics
Sealing the attic is not as easy as plugging the windows as grandma may have done many years ago. It is less about the plastic wrap and caulking and more about fully winterizing and professional insulation installation. In some homes, the attic is one of the areas where much heat is lost. Rather than keep your furnace working overtime, addressing the real issue may be more cost-effective in the long run. When you call for a free in-home estimate, be sure to ask the professionals at The Weather Changers about the state of your attic and if you would benefit from professional sealing and additional insulation.
Install Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats can indeed be a considerable investment. However, just like with any good investment, smart thermostats pay you back in return. Smart thermostats can be set to your preference and alert you when your furnace runs less than efficiently. You can keep your home cooler when no one is there, and then you can adjust the temperature before arriving—all of this from the remote control of an easy app on your phone. Many smart thermostats also include reminders to change your filter, which is a bonus in the ongoing quest for furnace efficiency.
Clean Duct Systems
Cleaning duct systems is quite a job. This is not routine maintenance diagnostics or servicing that is traditionally completed without special request. However, if you are experiencing massive amounts of dust and cobwebs in your home or suffer from intensive allergies, you may want to inquire about duct cleaning. Dirty ducts can cause your furnace to work harder than it should. When ducts get clogged with dust and other particles, your furnace may be working as hard as it can, but you aren’t experiencing its total efficiency because it can’t cut through the crud. Many homeowners will not request or experience duct cleaning in their lives. Still, it can be a helpful resort if regular filter changes and furnace maintenance point to additional causes.
Schedule Routine Servicing
Even if you’ve followed every tip on the list so far, you still need to schedule regular furnace maintenance. Professional assessment and servicing are integral for furnace efficiency and, in many cases, also for warranty maintenance. Efficient furnaces also save you money on utility bills.
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So many furnace inefficiency issues are preventable and the result of improper maintenance. The very best way for homeowners and landlords alike to keep your heating running at full capacity with maximum furnace efficiency is to schedule routine diagnostic assessments and maintenance. Systematic evaluations will catch problems before they become major issues that may leave you cold during the frigid winter months in the Denver metro area. Scheduled maintenance keeps parts in their prime condition and your furnace operating just as it should.
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