Winter Furnace Myths Dispelled
When the weather is cold, it’s natural to want to keep your home warm and save energy using a variety of tactics. Unfortunately, there are creative ideas that seem to make sense, but simply don’t work. By knowing the truth about the most popular heating and furnace myths, you’ll prevent unnecessary wear and see real results when the power bill arrives.
Myth: Closing the vents and registers in unused spaces will save power.
Many modern homes used forced-air heating systems that detect and balance pressure levels in each room to ensure the furnace distributes heat evenly. Closing vents and registers disturbs the balance because it will trigger the furnace to work harder in an attempt to equalize the pressure.
To save power, ensure that vents and registers are open and not blocked by furniture, rugs, clothes, books or other objects.
Myth: Insulating windows doesn’t do anything.
When you stand next to a traditional window, you’ll notice that it feels cold during the winter and warm during the summer. This is due to heat transfers. During the fall and winter, un-insulated windows allow heat to escape and cool air to enter.
Keep more of the warm air inside your home by upgrading traditional windows to double or triple pane windows. If you’re on a tight budget, you can save energy by installing a low-emissivity film with reflective properties over windows. For a quick fix, hang heavy drapes over windows or install honeycomb blinds.
Myth: Duct tape is for sealing ducts.
Duct tape is a versatile tool with a misleading name. Even though it seems like it has a strong adhesive, the tape does not seal ducts well. The adhesive also dries out and fails with time. A better solution for ducts is mastic tape, which sticks, seals and insulates well.
Myth: Setting the furnace at the highest temperature will heat your house faster.
Furnaces heat spaces at the same rate, regardless of the temperature on the thermostat. If you set the temperature to the highest setting, the only thing you will do is have a warmer home.
Instead of turning off the furnace before you leave your home or go to bed and then cranking up the heat later, which wastes energy, set the temperature a few degrees cooler. Doing so keeps your furnace from working harder to warm your home.
Myth: Adjusting the temperature on my thermostat will raise my heating bills.
Some believe that lowering the temperature on a thermostat at night or before leaving the house will make a furnace work harder when they want to raise the temperature later and, therefore, waste energy. This is true when temperature differences are 5°F or greater because a furnace must work harder to warm up a cold room than to bring a slightly cool room to a comfortable temperature.
Maximize your energy savings by setting your thermostat to around 68°F while you’re awake and in the home. Then lower it to around 65°F at night or before you leave your home. A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the temperatures for you, making saving energy and staying comfortable simple.
Myth: A high-efficiency furnace is the only thing I need to lower my power bills.
A new, high-efficiency furnace will definitely help reduce your heating expenses, but you should not rely on it solely for this purpose. There are several ways to lower you energy costs and keep your home comfortable during the winter, including:
- Sealing doors and windows
- Ensuring your home has adequate insulation
- Professional ductwork inspections to fix leaks
- Installing high-efficiency window units to prevent heat transfers
- Reducing the temperature on the thermostat a couple degrees
- Sealing cracks on your home’s exterior and interior walls
Myth: It’s OK if I don’t have a licensed professional inspect and maintain the furnace this year.
If it seems as if your furnace runs well, it might be tempting to forego scheduling annual maintenance to save a few dollars. However, up to 75 percent of service calls during the fall and winter are due to preventable problems that a specialist would have caught during maintenance. A furnace is a large, worthy investment in your home. Annual maintenance protects this investment and extends its life. If a professional hasn’t serviced your furnace in over 12 months, now is a good time to schedule an appointment.
If you ever have questions about using your furnace or keeping your home comfortable during the fall and winter, never hesitate to talk to the specialists at AAA Heating and Cooling.