Heater Efficiency: Warming Your Home Naturally

Heater Efficiency

Increase Heater Efficiency By Tapping Natural Resources

As winter approaches days grow shorter and the temperatures will be cooler for a few months: it happens every year like clockwork. However, we have seen the cost of fuels increase at an unexpected clip this year; energy costs for heating are projected to be higher than this time last year. Before an increase in heating causes you to break out into a sweat and your blood pressure rise, let’s look at some Heater Efficiency tips you can implement to make your home more comfortable with little to no cost.

Since it has been a few years since your last Physical Science class, let me remind you of this principle about the physics of energy. Heat always moves towards cold. Scientists will state it differently, but for practical purposes the statement is true. When you remember this principle, consider all of the adjustments you can make to keep your home warmer and to increase your heater efficiency this winter.

Heater Efficiency: Learn How to Keep Your Heat

Since you have already paid to heat your home, it is in your best interest to keep that warmth from moving to the cold outdoors.

  • Fireplaces lend an atmosphere of warmth and beauty, especially during winter holidays. A fireplace might also come in handy when an ice storm takes out electricity for an extended period. However, unmodified fireplaces are energy hogs and if used day-in and day-out, result in a less comfortable home and high energy costs.

    A roaring fire pushes more than 20,000 cubic feet of hot air and gases through the chimney every hour. That air must be replaced, and your home will draw outside (cold) air through every opening available to replace the lost air. The result is cold, drafty rooms away from the fireplace.

  • If you make your fireplace a normal source of heat, make energy-efficient modifications to keep your home comfortable. Make sure to keep the fireplace flue closed when it is not in use. If open, it is a channel for warm inside air to move to the cold outdoors, the equivalent to leaving a 48” square window open.
  • Insulation and weather-stripping is the MOST efficient measure to prevent the movement of warm air to the cold outside. You have heard the old adage “warm air rises.” It is true. Do a quick check of your attic insulation with a ruler or tape measure.

    Expect 10 to 12” of insulation evenly spread across the surface. If insulation is deficient, adding insulation will improve comfort and efficiency. Make sure that the attic opening is properly sealed.

  • Improved building materials and techniques result in energy-efficient wall construction, but age and settling can create gaps for air to move freely. Here are some things to inspect:
    • Windows and doors can allow air to freely move. Caulk and weather-stripping are quite effective. When you feel a cold draft coming in, know that an equal volume of warm air is leaving the building envelope.
    • Put your hand near electrical outlets. If you feel a draft, faceplate insulation is available to reduce the amount of air movement.

Practical Steps to Increase Heater Efficiency

  • Solar gain is free! Glass is a poor insulator and allows heat to travel from the warm side to the cold side reducing your heater efficiency. Solar gain is radiant energy coming from the sun, even on cold winter days.
    • Open the curtains during sunny days on the south side of the house. While the sun appears to move from east to west, it will always shine on the south side during the winter months. Plenty of heat will radiate through the windows, moving inside, even when it is cold. It makes the space cheery and bright. Be sure to protect sensitive materials from UV light.
    • Once the sun sets, close curtains and drapes to prevent the warm indoor air from traveling outdoors.
  • Take note of appliances and activities that warm your home. Appliances that clean typically also generate heat. Adjusting your schedule slightly can contribute warmth at the right time.
  • Use the clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher during cold, evening hours and take advantage of the residual heat from these processes. If you prefer not to hear the noise, set a timer to begin cycles as the family is getting ready for bed.
  • Remember that baking and cooking will contribute substantial heat during the winter months. Plan accordingly, but NEVER use unvented gas appliances as a heat source.
  • Consider skipping the bathroom exhaust vent during showers to keep warm, moist air indoors instead of sending it outside. Indoor air tends to be drier during the winter months, so that might be a bonus.
  • Learn to use ceiling fans appropriately for the season to improve heater efficiency. Look for the switch on each ceiling fan that changes the direction of the blades. Which way should it turn? Simply remember—cool down/warm up. Warm air moves up and is trapped near the ceiling. A slow setting with the blades moving in a clockwise motion will pull cold air up and push warm air down.

Need help with improving your heater efficiency?

Let us know how we can help with your furnace and heater efficiency, call AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

Heater Efficiency

 

 

 

3 Easy Furnace Maintenance Fixes

Furnace Maintenance

3 Easy Furnace Maintenance Fixes – Common Furnace Problems & Solutions

During the winter your family relies on your furnace to maintain comfort and heat your home. As the temperature drops, you do not want to face a breakdown and potentially lose your furnace’s ability to heat your home.

A commonly asked question is, “What are furnace problems to look for?” Most homeowners are looking for furnace maintenance tips to minimize the need for large furnace and HVAC repairs.

Here are the 3 most common furnace problems we’ve witnessed below and proactive furnace maintenance solutions to keep your heating system running at its peak.

Clogged and Dirty Air Filters

Clogged and dirty air filters put unnecessary strain on your furnace. In addition, a dirty air filter will reduce the air quality inside your home.

Replacing your air filter based on your furnace maintenance specifications prolongs the life of the unit and can drastically reduce your energy consumption.

The most effective way to avoid a clogged or dirty HVAC filter is regularly scheduled furnace maintenance. One of our NATE Certified Technicians can inspect your air filter and replace it if needed.

We will also provide a schedule for you to change your air filters based on several criteria such as the number of pets inside the home, tobacco use, chronic allergies or other conditions, and if you have elderly or infant family members.

Most filters provide replacement specifications and many modern thermostats provide an alert when air filters need to be replaced.

Ductwork Design Or Damage

Sometimes the original installation of your HVAC system can be causing your heating and/or cooling system to face challenges to keep up with the demand of your desired temperature settings.

Improperly installed or designed ductwork can lead to inefficient HVAC effectiveness.

Damaged ductwork could come from rodents, normal wear and tear, or damage caused by attic storage. Through the repetition of cycling back and forth from heat and then cold, ductwork experiences fatigue which leads to leaks.

Leaking ductwork is one of the leading causes of loss of energy efficiency in your HVAC system.

This repair is typically easy and one of our furnace maintenance professionals can repair or reconfigure ductwork quite easily.

Reduced Efficiency

As we have discussed, routine furnace maintenance is highly suggested to keep your heating system performing at its best. We highly recommend furnace maintenance twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

This maintenance will keep your HVAC system running at its optimal efficiency level.

There are reasons why you will lose efficiency that cannot always be prevented with maintenance. An aging heating unit will gradually lose its ability to maintain the desired comfort levels within your home.

Time will eventually cause a breakdown of the system’s mechanics, leading to costly repairs and the inevitable replacement.

Modern units promote an efficiency level of about 90%, an older unit may only be able to perform at 60%.

Not only does this minimize the comfort level, it inconveniently adds to your utility bill. Learn more about HVAC efficiency ratings here.

Want more information about Furnace Maintenance? We Can Help!

If you are considering preventative Furnace Maintenance services to better your HVAC Efficiency and prepare your home for cool weather, call us at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.

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Furnace Maintenance