There is a really hard worker in your home – besides you of course! It is your furnace. Tucked away in basements most of the time, it is pretty easy to forget about this guy. Until of course, he makes a lot of noise or stops working altogether, and then you’ve got a problem that needs a quick solution.
Your heating system is definitely something you can’t afford to neglect. Not only is it responsible for keeping you toasty and warm during our crisp Canadian winters, it has a significant presence on your monthly utility bill. That basement dweller of yours accounts for more than half of the average household energy usage, and if you have an older furnace, even more so. Here’s why.
Older furnaces are less energy efficient. In general, less than 60% compared to the latest models, which boast up to 98% efficiency. But what does that really mean?
It means that newer furnaces have been designed to use less energy. Some have electronic ignition instead of having a pilot light going all the time, or sealed combustion chambers to ensure warm air isn’t escaping through the chimney. Newer models are not only going to save you money, they are much better for the environment.
It all goes back to that simple equation: When we use more energy we generate more greenhouse gas emissions, which directly affect air quality and contribute to climate change.
A new furnace is a big expense and may not be in your immediate future, even if it promises to pay off over time. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get peak performance out of your existing furnace and take the chill out of those energy bills this winter. So pay attention to your furnace – your wallet and the environment will thank you!
Reduce Heating Costs and Become More Energy Efficient!
Maintenance is the secret to optimal performance. We suggest having a professional come by each year to inspect and service your furnace. This regular check up will help ensure your older model furnace keeps chugging along and you’ll reap the benefits of a clean unit that will consume less energy and improve air quality in your home. We don’t know anyone who wants to breath in a year’s worth of dust and other allergens trapped in the vents. Do you?
This is an easy and fairly cheap solution. Simply set aside a few minutes, every three months to replace or clean your filter. Clean filters help maintain healthy air quality and they are readily available at most home improvement stores.
Get with the program
If you haven’t already, treat yourself to a programmable thermostat. This device will give you much more control over the temperature in your home – whether you are there or not.
According to Environment Canada, you can shave 2% off your heating bill if you lower the temperature by 1 degree. And if you take 3 degrees off before bedtime, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by half a tonne. We bet you won’t even notice the difference.
Don’t make your furnace work harder than it has to. Keep heating vents open and free from your furniture and drapes. Your furnace will also run a lot more efficiently if you take the time to regularly vacuum out dust and pet hair from warm air registers and cold air returns.
Don’t pay for something that’s not going to stick around. By sealing all leaks surrounding doors, windows, and electrical outlets you’ll help ensure the heat stays put. In fact, this do-it-yourself project will likely cost you less than $20, but it can help you save up to 20% on your next heating bill.
Embrace functional design
Need an excuse to go shopping to save money? An area rug will warm your space. Heavier curtains will help keep the heat where it belongs when the sun goes down. Remember to open up all window coverings on sunny days so you can enjoy some complimentary heat from Mother Nature.
Out with the old
We know it is a fairly big investment, but updating your furnace with a higher efficiency model is the first step to saving yourself money in the long run. Replacing your old furnace with a new, more energy efficient one can help you save up to 30% of your heating costs and it will increase the value of your home.
Don’t ignore your basement buddy! Give your furnace the attention it needs and it will repay you with savings on your next energy bill.
About The Author
Serial Entrepreneur, Technologist and Inventor.
My objective is to develop useful products that have a net positive effect in the lives of those that use them and the environment that we live in.
CEO of Mission LED Lighting Company Ltd.
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