How To Lighten Your Furnace's Load This Winter

When temperatures plummet, your furnace becomes the hardest working appliance in your home. While a lot of that hard work is well-earned, there's no reason for your furnace to work harder than necessary. Various issues can cause a furnace's workload to increase with no appreciative benefit, resulting in higher energy consumption, a higher utility bill, and increased wear and tear on the furnace itself.

Fortunately, you can relieve some of your furnace's performance burdens with the following tips.

Invest in Better Insulation

A poorly insulated home will continuously lose heat, which in turn causes your furnace to run constantly just to keep up with your home's never-ending heating demands. Having proper insulation will help your home retain its heat, and reduce the amount of heating needed from your furnace. Upgrading to insulation with a higher R-value per inch can help improve your home's heat retention during the winter.

Choose a Less Restrictive Air Filter

Investing in a furnace air filter with a higher MERV rating can give your home cleaner, healthier air. Unfortunately, using an air filter with a MERV rating that's too high for your furnace to handle can prove costly. The higher the air filter's MERV rating, the smaller the mesh that's used to trap unwanted airborne particles. A small mesh can capture the tiniest particles, but it'll fill up quickly and block airflow.

Even without clogs caused by a rapidly dirty air filter, the mesh itself can make it harder to push air through the furnace unless the unit was specifically designed to handle that filter. That's why most conventional furnaces must be modified before using most HEPA filtration solutions.

Invest in an air filter that's appropriately rated for your furnace. Most residential furnaces rely on air filters rated at a MERV between 7 and 12.

Find and Seal Leaks Throughout the Home

Cracks and open spaces around windows, doors, plumbing pipes and electrical wiring conduits can allow heat to escape, resulting in a colder home that constantly needs your furnace's undivided attention. Have a seasoned professional inspect your home for leaks. Your professional will use a variety of tools, including mastic and caulk, to seal leaks in common areas.

Invest in Professional Maintenance

A little maintenance can go a long way towards improving your furnace's performance and efficiency. Having a seasoned professional inspect, clean and test your furnace can help reduce clogs and prevent other operational issues that make your furnace run harder.

Companies like Scott's Heating & Air Conditioning Services can help answer any other questions you might have.