According to Angie's List, the average homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from $2,500 to $14,000 for a new, high-efficiency, gas furnace. Purchasing a high-efficiency furnace is a great investment. Unfortunately, if you simply don't have the funds for a new model, chances are you're looking for ways to make your existing HVAC system run more efficiently. Here are a few ways you can begin improving the efficiency of your existing furnace:
Have Your Furnace Serviced
One of the best ways to extend the life of your existing furnace and make it more energy-efficient is to have it serviced by a professional at least once a year. The best time to have your furnace checked over is right before you need it the most: late-fall or early-winter.
In addition to making sure your furnace is running at peak efficiency, a professional inspector will also ensure your thermostat is working properly. The inspector will oil any moving components and examine the air filter housing for any dust and dirt build-up. The professional will also replace your existing air filter, and provide you with a recommendation on how often to change the filter yourself.
Finally, the inspector will both start and shut off the system several times to check for any malfunction codes. Most furnaces feature a series of codes that signal a potential problem with the furnace. The professional will have the skills and knowledge to both read the codes, pinpoint a potential issue and, most importantly, fix it.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
One of the simplest ways to save money while making your furnace run more efficiently is to invest in a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats are available at a variety of price points and will have a variety of features.
For example, some programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures for each individual day. The days are typically divided into four zones, and setting a different temperature for each will allow you to keep your home cooler during periods you are not typically home, and warmer for times you are home a lot, such as on the weekends.
One of the most high-tech programmable thermostats is called a learning model. Basically, this is a model that you don't need to program! Instead, you alter the temperature as needed throughout the day. The thermostat will actually learn your preferences and program itself accordingly. There are models that also link to your home's WiFi network, which allows you to change the temperature in your home while you are out and about.
Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency
Finally, some of the best ways to help your furnace run more smoothly and less often doesn't involve the unit at all. Instead, there are several changes you can make around your home that will actually improve your furnace's efficiency. Here are a few:
- Run Your Ceiling Fans During the Winter – Many models of ceiling fans allow you to change the direction of the blades, which allows you to circulate the warm air throughout the room. Check for a switch on your ceiling fan that allows you to run the blades clockwise in the winter and counter-clockwise in the summer.
- Eliminate Clutter in Your Basement – In order for your furnace to run, it must pull in cool air from two places: your basement and the outdoors. Eliminating clutter in the basement allows you furnace to pull air into the unit much easier, which can help improve its efficiency.
- Seal the Gaps Around Your Windows and Doors – Check the outside edge of your windows and doors and if you notice a gap, run a fresh bead of caulk or replace the rubber seal.
From having the unit serviced by a professional, like #1 Air Source, to making a few small changes around your home, there are several ways you can save money by making your existing furnace more energy-efficient.