The colder weather has finally arrived and this is the season when we really rely on your heating systems to keep our homes warm and comfortable. To ensure that your heating equipment works reliably and efficiently throughout the winter, it’s not too late to schedule some essential maintenance. The best time to work on HVAC systems is before each heating and cooling season, but the benefits are considerable and you don’t have to miss out. Well maintained heating systems are more effective and they consume less energy. To help you improve your energy efficiency even further, here are seven improvements you can make.

1.  Seal the Door Frames

In many homes, a great deal of the generated heat is lost through the door frames. Even a small gap can release a lot of heat over time and remember that this is heat that you have paid for. Aside from the loss of efficiency, this loss of heat can cause your heating system to work harder in order to compensate. When any complex system is overworked, it is more prone to failure and HVAC systems are certainly no exception to this rule. The door frame should be sealed around the edges with weather-stripping that is in great shape. If this is compromised, the seal simply will not work as intended and heat will escape easily. You can make a temporary DIY repair with some plastic or rubber adhesive foam that you can find in most home improvement stores. But, when you get a better day and have the time, it’s a good idea to install fresh weather-stripping as a more lasting solution.

2.  Seal the Window Frames

Many of the aspects of heat loss that we covered in the door frames section above equally apply to the window frames. This is especially true if you have drafty or older window frames where you may even feel a cold draft of air from outdoors. The first thing to inspect is the caulking around the periphery of your window frames. Even if you have no DIY skills, you will notice any signs of peeling or wear and tear. To block these potential gaps, apply some fresh caulking to get you through the holiday season. Another option is to install some plastic window covers to add an extra layer of insulation.

3.  Insulate the Attic Spaces

Most modern homes have some insulation installed in the attic spaces. This is a passive way to keep the heated air inside your home in winter and the hotter air out in the summer months. Warm air tends to rise and it may enter the attic, but it won’t stick around for long if there is no or little insulation in those areas. Adding some extra insulation is a sound investment and you may need some proper ventilation too. If the heat vents are not positioned in the optimal locations, it can provide an easier route for the heated air to escape your home. If you are worried about the insulation levels in your home, contact your local HVAC specialist for expert help and advice.

4.  Cover the Electrical Outlets

The electrical outlet and light switch plates are basically gaps in the walls where the heat can escape your home easily. This airflow can be minimized with the installation of specialized gaskets made with insulation foam. They are inserted in the existing electrical fixtures where they improve the insulation qualities by creating a firm seal. These gaskets are available at most home improvement stores and they are easy to install if you have basic DIY skills. If you are unsure about this process, contact your local heating specialist company and they can help.

5.  Find and Seal Baseboard Gaps

Take a close look at the baseboards and you may notice gaps between the floor and the bottom of the drywall. These are prime locations where the treated air can escape and sealing them should be a priority if you want to lower your energy bills. Fixing these gaps is simple, apply some caulk and then add a bead along the length of the baseboard. When the weather turns warmer you can look at a more permanent solution but for now, the heat loss will be minimized.

6.  Install a Smart Thermostat

When it comes to maximizing performance and achieving optimal energy efficiency, a smart thermostat is hard to beat. With these units, you can have unparalleled control over many aspects of your HVAC system. It is possible to make changes remotely in real time via a Wifi connection. Using your favorite mobile device or a PC you can make adjustments with an easy to use, dedicated app. A basic programmable thermostat can be set to make changes to the indoor temperature based on timings alone. But, with your smart thermostat, you don’t need to worry about last minute delays and you can turn your heating on when you need it. It’s also possible to monitor and optimize the energy efficiency and you even get an alert if something goes wrong. Your existing HVAC system may already be compatible with a smart thermostat and they are a great investment.

7.  Schedule a Tune-Up

We covered this briefly during the introduction to this article, but it bears repeating, well maintained equipment tends to work more efficiently. HVAC systems are complex, they have electronic, electrical, and mechanical components that need to work in harmony. When parts are failing, they can affect other components leading to an expensive repair bill or a drop in energy efficiency. For this reason, we recommend an inspection and tune-up before the start of each cooling and heating season. If your system has not been serviced in a while, a longer tune-up can restore a lot of that lost efficiency. This will improve the performance, boost the energy efficiency, reduce the chance of a repair and even extend the useful lifespan of the system.

If you want to learn more about performance and energy efficiency improvements for your heating system, contact your local HVAC specialist today.