Most aspects of heating your home properly are fairly straightforward: set the thermostat, close the windows and doors, and let the furnace do its job. However, there are a few situations where the most energy-efficient method seems contrary to common sense. Here are a few little-known tips that will help you get the most out of your heating system.
Closing Vents can Increase Energy Costs
It seems reasonable to think that closing off the vents in an unoccupied room will help reduce your energy costs by directing more heat where it's needed. However, there are a number of reasons this may actually reduce your energy efficiency and even damage your system if it is done long term.
Your furnace is balanced when it is installed to supply heat evenly to all of the rooms in your home. When you shut off a room, you are effectively creating bottlenecks in the system, forcing your furnace to work harder to push more air out of fewer vents. Additionally, the cold areas of your home will draw heat away from the rooms you are trying to keep warm, wasting energy by forcing you to run the furnace longer.
Duct Cleaning May Not be Necessary
It is a common belief that a thorough duct cleaning will help improve the air quality in your home by removing dirt, dust and other allergens that are polluting your air supply. However, it is usually not necessary unless your ducts have significant problems, such as mold growth or noticeable debris from your vents.
Occasionally, duct cleaning can have a negative effect. If your ducts have captured pollutants from the air, it is almost like they are acting like a secondary air filter for your system. Instead of blowing through your vents, these pollutants are adhering to the walls of the ducts in your home. Agitating these pollutants by cleaning your ducts can actually decrease your indoor air quality for days or weeks after your ducts have been cleaned.
Ceiling Fans are Useful in the Winter, Too
Your ceiling fans are useful for more than keeping cool in the summer. With their normal counterclockwise rotation, your ceiling fans circulate cool air through the room. However, you can flip the switch on your ceiling fans to reverse their rotational direction. This will cause them to force the warm air that is lingering around the ceiling back down into the room.
An important thing to understand about ceiling fans is that they do not actually change the temperature of the room they are in. Instead, they just circulate air, and the cooling or warming sensation that you feel is just caused by the displaced air moving past your skin. Therefore, it is always more energy efficient to turn off a ceiling fan in any room that is not being used.
High Thermostat Settings Do Not Heat Faster
If you are like most people, once the temperature in your home gets to a certain low you will set the thermostat as high as it will go. While this is something that almost everyone is guilty of, it actually has no tangible benefit for heating your home. The best method is always to set your thermostat to the desired temperature, as your furnace will produce heat at the same rate no matter what the thermostat is set on.
In the worst case, you may find yourself wasting energy by setting the thermostat too high. If you set the thermostat above the desired temperature, it can quickly get too warm to be comfortable. Even if you turn off your furnace at this point, you have still wasted the energy it took to heat your home above a comfortable temperature.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you master the quirks of most home heating systems. Remember to have your heating system routinely maintained and inspected by a technician from Just In Time Furnace Inc. to maximize the life of your unit and keep your heating costs down.