Thinking it might be time for a furnace replacement, but not quite ready to take the leap? That’s understandable. It’s a big decision and can be a significant investment. While you’re deciding, here are a few “heat hacks” to get the best performance and value out of your current unit.
1. Check and change your furnace filter regularly.
A dirty or clogged filter can significantly reduce heating capacity. If clogged over an extended period of time, it can cause damage that will require professional repairs. Ideally, you should check the filter monthly and replace at least every three months.
2. Insulate your home.
Heat loss can be significant due to a poorly insulated home, causing your furnace to run overtime. Add attic and ceiling insulation and make sure doors and windows are adequately weather stripped. If you have older windows and doors that are especially drafty, consider replacing them.
3. Lower your thermostat.
Heating professionals recommend a heat setting of 68° or lower for a combination of comfort and heating efficiency. You can go even lower — especially with an extra sweater or blanket around to keep you cozy.
4. Install a programmable thermostat.
The new programmable thermostats can help you save energy by lowering and raising your home’s temperature to match when you’re away, sleeping, or on your way home from the office. Many can now be controlled remotely by using your smartphone.
5. Take advantage of nature.
In winter, keep your drapes and shades open on southern-facing windows to take advantage of the sunlight. At night, close all your shades and drapes to block drafts.
6. Control traffic in and out of your home.
Limiting traffic in and out, as well as closing doors every time you use them can seem like a small effort, but added up, it can make a difference.
7. Be sure windows and doors are secure for the season.
Check your windows to make sure all your storms are closed. If you have sliding doors or windows, make sure they’re securely closed and locked.
8. Close off unused rooms.
If you’re not using a room or using it very infrequently, it can pay to close heating vents and close the door. You can even add an insulating strip in front of the door to keep cold air from escaping.
9. Invest in a furnace inspection.
Even if you’re not quite ready to replace your furnace, you can gain peace of mind by investing in an inspection as part of annual or bi-annual maintenance. And if there’s anything that is really a concern, your heating professional will be able to identify that before you have a serious problem — like sudden loss of heat.
Now that you know how to get the most out of your current furnace, here are some resources to help you look at replacement options. With a little research, you may find that investing in a replacement furnace makes a lot of energy and cash savings sense.
- Energy Efficient Furnaces
- Questions to Ask
- Calculating New Furnace Cost
- Good Times to Buy: Spring and Fall