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Furnace Season is Here! How Efficient is Your Furnace?

 

How efficient is your furnace?

The winter chill has swept across Vancouver and Portland, and many customers are unaware their furnace is not operating at an optimal level of efficiency.  Our HVAC service pros in Portland and Vancouver share several variables that can affect the efficiency of your furnace:

  • Dirty filters and blowers
  • Thermostat calibration
  • Climate and weather
  • Dust and dirt on moving parts
  • Water damage
  • Old or incorrectly sized units
  • Poor insulation

Winter doesn’t mean your electric bill has to be through the roof when you’re just trying to stay warm — Routine maintenance can prevent some of these issues, while others may require minor repairs or replacements. AAA Heating and Cooling can determine what issues are present, and what the best course of action is to solve them.

When dust builds up in a unit it can reduce the efficiency of a furnace. If the fan is dirty, it may not be running properly. If there is a build up of dust in the vents, the heat won’t circulate and properly warm the desired space. People within the space may compensate for the lack of ventilation by turning up the heat. Because of this, the furnace may turn on more frequently and stay on for longer periods of time at a higher temperature. Increasing the heat uses more energy, which increases your monthly bill.

Moisture and humidity, especially in Portland and Vancouver, are important factors to consider when improving furnace efficiency. Water can get into small spaces where it can corrode or freeze, and damage components. Since humidity can make the air feel warmer to people, it requires more energy to make the indoor air feel cooler and more comfortable to offset the temperature difference. It also reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of units by interfering with the transition of heat during the cooling cycle. Air-conditioners work harder as outside temperatures increase because the air-conditioning cycle requires the outside temperatures to be lower than the heat being released from the unit.

What should you know about HVAC thermostats?

A thermostat that is not properly calibrated may be satisfied before a system reaches the desired temperature, which can prevent the system from adequately removing sufficient moisture from the air during the cooling mode. The humidity can make air feel hot, sticky, and heavy, and can lead to moisture and mold problems. The inadequate heating and cooling mean the unit may turn on and off more frequently (short-cycling), or run continuously. The stress of short-cycling and continuous use will shorten the life of equipment, and increase your heating and cooling bills.

Turning the temperature down at night, and when no one is home, saves energy by preventing unnecessary heating and cooling. Thermostats may also have an adjustable cycle, which prevents furnaces from frequently turning on and off to try to stabilize the temperature. Programmable thermostats can switch between modes on a set schedule, and adjust to the temperature that is most appropriate for the time of day, so you don’t have to worry about constantly managing the temperature.

There are many ways to improve furnace efficiency. AAA Heating and Cooling can help you keep you warm and save you money by determining how your furnace can be more efficient.