A furnace is a vital part of many home heating systems and we rely on it when the weather turns colder. Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature represents a significant investment and many people have some misconceptions about this technology. The modern world has plenty of information that’s easy to access and yet there are still a lot of myths about furnaces that need to be debunked. In this article, we will take a closer look at six popular furnace myths and explain why they are not true.
1. Cranking the Thermostat will Heat the Home Faster
Let’s face it, we’ve all done this and for many people, it’s the default method they use when they want to warm their homes. But, grabbing the thermostat as you enter the home and cranking the temperature higher for faster heating does not work. The time required to heat a home will depend on the air distribution and that takes time. The heated air is delivered to each room via the ductwork and this process cannot be made to go faster. If you have a multi-level home, it’s important to realize that the heat will take a little time to reach those upper floors.
When the thermostat is used in this way, it’s ineffective and a great deal of energy is wasted. The furnace will run for longer until the temperature is reached and this will take the same amount of time as a more conservative setting. If you want your home to be warm and cozy when you return, there are better ways to make this happen. Consider an upgrade to a smart thermostat that you can control remotely in real time via your favorite mobile device. This will give you unparalleled control over the HVAC system and if you’re getting home earlier or later it’s easy to turn the system on.
2. Heating Costs are Lowered if Vents and Registers are Closed
Some people close their vents and registers to save money on their heating costs. At first glance, this seems to be a good idea, if you’re heating fewer rooms, it’s probably going to consume less energy. This is flawed thinking because the air is circulated throughout the home and the system is designed to work in this way. When the vents and registers are closed or blocked with high furniture, heavy drapes, and other items, it’s a problem.
When rooms are not warmed they become cold spots and this can affect your overall heating profile. The furnace blower may work harder to deliver the treated air because the thermostat is telling the unit that the desired temperature cannot be reached. Overworked equipment is more prone to failure and the energy bills are higher. If you have rooms that are not in regular use, it’s a better idea to open up the vents and registers a little. This will improve the airflow and energy efficiency without making those rooms overly warm.
3. A High-Efficiency Furnace Reduces the Heating Bills
Although this is partially true, it’s important to understand that a high-efficiency furnace alone is not going to reduce your heating bills. To capitalize on those efficiency gains, there are other things that need to happen or the investment is wasted. The insulation levels in the home must be sufficient to keep all the cheaper heating where it belongs. The new furnace must be professionally installed to ensure that optimal energy efficiency is achieved. After the installation, it’s important to invest in an annual service to maintain the performance and energy efficiency gains for as long as possible.
4. Restoring an Old Furnace Saves Money
Many people want to save money and this is a natural response when times are hard. At the moment, many of us are reluctant to invest in new appliances unless it is absolutely necessary. But, choosing the least expensive option is often more expensive in the medium to long-term. If you’re considering restoring or repairing an old furnace to avoid purchasing a new furnace, it’s usually a false economy. The heating and cooling industry is a fast moving field and improvements in performance and efficiency are made every year. A furnace made today will perform better and consume less energy than an equivalent model made a couple of years ago. Investing in a new furnace or, even better, a high-efficiency model will save money on repair bills, servicing, and energy bills.
5. The Biggest Furnace is Always the Best Choice
Many people have an ingrained belief that choosing the largest model is always the superior choice. But, this is not a good choice when it comes to home heating choices. The furnace must be closely matched to the home or a number of problems can be created. If the furnace is too large, it may heat the space too quickly and this causes the furnace to turn on and off quickly. This is known as short-cycling, this overstresses the equipment leading to failures and it consumes a lot of energy. A professional HVAC contractor will carry out a complex load calculation to determine the furnace size. This takes a number of factors into account, including insulation levels, airflow patterns, the number of windows, the orientation of the home, and more.
6. Regular Heating Maintenance is Optional
Many people take their heating system for granted until something goes wrong. This is a flawed approach because it will cost more to run the system in the long term. Why? The first problem is that a furnace will lose efficiency every year from new. A great deal of this efficiency loss can be mitigated with regular annual servicing. Another problem is that neglected equipment is prone to failure and the larger repair bills can be expensive. When a system is inspected, checked, and monitored regularly, it’s possible to identify and fix smaller issues before they turn into larger problems. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of the system to avoid an earlier than expected replacement.
If you want to improve the performance of your furnace, contact your local heating specialist today.