If you are like most frugal homeowners, the idea of paying for a new furnace might send you straight into panic-mode. To fend off surprise system failures, you might heed the advice of your friends and family, switching out air filters and constantly adjusting your heat. Unfortunately, doing the wrong things can actually harm your furnace, which might make that unplanned expense a reality. Here are two ways you might be unintentionally damaging your home heating system, and how you can change your ways.
1: Manually Operating Your Thermostat
Instead of leaving your thermostat alone and giving your system the chance to do its job, you might find yourself running to your thermostat, switching on your heat whenever you get cold. Most people figure that manual operation will reduce the load on their heater, since they are the ones controlling the system.
Unfortunately, this approach can actually kill the efficiency of your heater, and it won't help you to keep your home any more comfortable. Because your furnace is only designed to produce a certain amount of heat, it isn't capable of doing the job faster just because you turned your system on by hand. For example, if your furnace normally takes 15 minutes to warm up your home, switching on your system won't change this timeframe. In fact, your heater will still take 15 minutes to heat up your space, but because your system is in manual mode, it won't click off once it has reached the optimal temperature.
If you forget to turn your system off, your heater might run longer than it should, which can use a lot of extra energy. Also, instead of being able to detect and adjust your indoor air temperature throughout the day, your system will end up working overtime whenever you feel chilly, which can be hard on your heater.
To keep your home warm and comfortable, and to reduce the workload of your furnace, take the time to program your thermostat. Believe it or not, by programming your system to your desired temperature and adjusting for the times when you will be away, you might be able to save about $180 a year on your energy bill. Also, because your heater will operate more efficiently, simple thermostat programming could extend the life of your system.
2: Installing Your Air Filters Backwards
If you are like most proactive homeowners, you probably diligently replace your air filters every month or two so that your heater stays clean and functional. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that it is possible to install those filters backwards, which can significantly reduce their efficiency.
Air filters have a porous side and a non-porous side, so that they can trap dirt and dust particles before they reach your home's interior. Air is supposed to blow in through the non-porous side of the filter, and then out through the porous side, which traps the debris. However, if your filter is installed backwards, it might keep dirty air from being cleaned, and put extra strain on your system.
Since your furnace will have a harder time pulling air through the wrong side of that filter, it might have to work harder and run longer to do the same job. Also, because that dirty air isn't being cleaned properly, it can allow dirt to build up inside of your system, which can also hurt efficiency. In fact, some studies have shown that less than half an inch of dirt accumulation on your heating coil can reduce furnace efficiency by as much as 21%.
If you want to avoid these problems, pay attention to the airflow indicators printed on the side of that filter. The arrows should be pointing in the direction that air flows out of your system, so that your filter can do the job it is designed to do.
Understanding some of the mistakes you might be making could help you to correct errors early, so that you can keep your furnace alive and well. Call a company from a place like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy for other tips on how to avoid problems.
My name is Ian Flaherty and this is my home and garden blog about painting. Many people don't enjoy painting the rooms in their house, but I think it's a very relaxing task that I often do after work. I frequently change the colors of the rooms in my home and every time I do, it gives the home an entirely new appearance, I learned how to paint rooms many years ago when I first started changing the paint colors in my house. When I was first learning how to paint, I had a few mishaps, but then I would do research to learn how it's done right. If you want to discover a whole new world that can be achieved with paint, I hope you'll read my blog and apply these tips and ideas.