It’s often true that the less you use a home appliance, the longer it lasts — and your furnace is no exception. When temperatures are mild, it’s easier and more comfortable to make the changes to prolong your system’s life. Making your home more energy efficient by sealing air leaks and addressing insulation issues pays off immediately in lower energy bills and greater comfort.
Where to Start
Identify the energy losses in your home’s envelope either through air infiltration or thermal losses either through a professional energy audit or doing your own investigation. A professional audit will give you exact results and map out a strategy to follow. Auditors use specialized equipment for finding air leakage, pinpointing inadequate insulation, and heat transfer.
If you do your own, look for cracks around window and exterior door frames, and other places where pipes, wires, vents and cables exit or enter the home. You’ll have to inspect the attic for uneven distribution of insulation or places where it’s degraded. The ductwork could also have leakage that contributes to significant energy losses. Dirt deposits around the ductwork in the attic often points to leakage.
Inefficient windows increase the furnace load through air leaks or thermal transfer. Place your hand on the glass when it’s cool outside. If they feel cold, they’re losing heat. Remove a cover plate from an electrical outlet on an outside wall to verify the wall cavity is full.
- Caulk, weatherstripping and expanding foam will seal most leaks. Be sure you choose the product based on its application.
- Adding insulation to the attic can be a do-it-yourself project, although increasing it in the walls normally requires a professional.
- When budget is an issue, consider using thermal window coverings instead of replacing inefficient windows.
- If you can access the ductwork, seal leaks with mastic or metal tape. Duct tape should never be used.
Taking steps to lower the furnace load will pay you back in increased system lifetime and lower energy costs. To learn more, contact CCAC, providing trusted HVAC services for Coastal Bend homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about reducing your furnace load and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 361-678-2495.
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