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Your HVAC system is one of the largest and most complex mechanical systems in your home. In fact, heating your home can account for between 30% and 50% of your total energy costs during the cold months of the year. Every homeowner should know a few key tips that can help to keep your system running efficiently throughout the fall and winter.
We have put together a list of suggestions that may not only help to improve your system’s efficiency and performance but also to improve its longevity. Please read on for the top five heating repair tips that all homeowners should know.
Tip # 1: Professional Servicing and Maintenance Are Important
You should have a qualified HVAC technician inspect your furnace, heat pump, or other HVAC equipment at least once per year. However, for best results, you may want to consider two visits each year, once in the early spring, before you switch to cooling and again in the late fall or early winter before you try to heat your home for the first time.
During these checks, your HVAC professional can help you identify worn out parts and replace them before your system has an unexpected issue. They can also help to clean debris or other contaminants out of the system and check that your vents are delivering consistent airflow throughout your home. To get instant help regarding finding the best HVAC contractor, check this website.
Tip # 2: Replace Your Filters Regularly
As the homeowner, there are also steps that you can take to ensure that your system operates at peak efficiency. Most, if not all, HVAC systems have filters on the air handler, furnace, or other critical components. These filters help capture dust, dirt, pollen, and other debris before getting into the system.
These filters can only remove so much dirt, dust, and other contaminants before they begin to lose efficiency. Most furnace manufacturers recommend that you check and replace your filters regularly. Depending upon your system, you may want to install new filters every three to six months. However, some furnaces may need more frequent filter replacements.
Tip # 3: Clean Your Air Ducts
Your home’s air ducts are a critical component of your furnace’s ability to heat your home. Even with regular maintenance and filter management, debris, allergens, dust, and other particles will still pass through your furnace or air handler into your ducts.
At that point, your HVAC system’s fans and the airflow in your vents will carry these particulates throughout your house. Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris will build up in the ducts and restrict the airflow throughout your home.
Inconsistent temperatures throughout your home can be a sign that you have dust and other particulates restricting the flow of air through your ducts. Any loss of air pressure and flow can cause your furnace to have to work harder to heat your home. This extra effort to compensate for the loss of airflow can shorten the useful life of your furnace’s components.
Many HVAC professionals recommend that you have your ducts cleaned at least once every seven years to remove any blockages and improve airflow. At that time, the technician can also check for air leaks or any other issues that may be negatively impacting your system’s performance.
You may be wondering if it is possible to clean your ductwork. While it is possible to clean your vents and certain areas of your home’s ductwork yourself, it is strongly recommended that you contact a professional to do so.
Your heating system’s ducting goes throughout your house. You will likely need specialized equipment to access and completely remove blockages from the runs and vents. Furthermore, improperly cleaning the ducts could result in damage to them or your furnace. Rather than removing debris, it is possible that you could send dirt into the furnace and damage its heating element.
Tip # 4: Install a Smart Thermostat
Many of the smart thermostats today will provide you with important insights into your system’s performance. For example, you can track the number of hours each day that your heating system is running. In addition, some thermostats will tell you if your furnace or heat pump had to turn on its emergency electric coil to provide sufficient warmth on, especially cold days.
Monitoring your HVAC system’s utilization may help you identify potential issues. For instance, if your furnace normally runs for only three hours on a 40-degree day, then you may have a problem if it turns on for five or six hours on a day with similar temperatures.
Similarly, if you see that your system has to turn on its emergency heat coil on a day when there isn’t extreme cold, then your furnace may not be operating at peak efficiency. Identifying these issues early can help you to avoid unexpected breakdowns and more expensive heat repair costs.
Smart thermostats also allow you to set schedules for your heating system. You can set lower temperatures during the day while you are out at work and then turn the system on shortly before you get home to warm up the house. These features can not only save wear and tear on your furnace but also lower your electricity, oil or gas costs as well.
Tip # 5: Conduct an Energy Audit
Many energy companies can now provide comparisons of your home’s energy usage in relation to other, similarly-sized houses in the area if you notice that your home uses more energy than other homes or if your heating bill increases unexpectedly, you may want to have an HVAC professional conduct an energy audit.
During the audit, a technician will look for areas where air can escape from your home. For example, these professionals often look at the insulation in your attic, the age of your windows, the weatherstripping around your exterior doors, and other maintenance areas that could impact your energy usage.
The energy auditor normally prepares a report with his or her findings and recommendations on how you can reduce your home’s energy usage. Eliminating air leaks and heat loss from your home will allow your system to run more efficiently and will typically reduce the load on its components.
The five heating repair tips above are only some of the ways that you can improve your HVAC system’s performance and reliability. We hope that you have found them useful. We will love to hear from you if you have any other tips or tricks that you use to maximize your furnace’s performance.