As we approach colder winter temperatures, ensuring your furnace is ready to keep you and your family warm is essential. Like other mechanical items, wear and tear can reduce operating efficiency if not taken care of properly.
Here are some things you can do to maximize efficiency.1. Change your filter at the recommended intervals. The purpose of a furnace filter is to keep contaminants out of the blower fan. Contaminants include hair, pet dander, dust, allergens, and other things that are sucked into your air return ducts. Unfortunately, if neglected, the filter can restrict airflow. Always change your filter based on the manufacturer's recommendation.
2. Maintain proper humidity levels in your home. As the humidity in your home begins to decrease, consider running a humidifier. Moisture in the air helps keep your home warm. In addition, a humidifier can help prevent chapped lips, dry skin, scratchy throats, and nose irritation. Experts recommend a relative humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. To keep your home at the proper level, you’ll need to buy a hygrometer, which measures temperature and relative humidity.
3. Turn on your ceiling fans. While it can seem counterintuitive to run your fan during the winter months, there are benefits, including it:
- Moves cool air up and warm air down into your room to prevent it from escaping.
- Allows you to reduce the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees.
- Improves your home’s airflow, which can help prevent moisture problems.
- Allows your furnace to run less, thus reducing your electric and gas bills.
To enjoy these benefits, there’s one catch. You must change your fan blades to spin clockwise. Refer to your owner’s manual to learn more.
4. Get your air ducts cleaned. If you’ve lived in your home for a while or recently completed a remodeling project, it may be time to clean your air ducts. Unfortunately, because your home is closed during the winter months, contaminants cannot exit, causing some possible build-up in your system. A build-up in your system can lead to reduced airflow. Benefits of cleaning include:
- Reducing airborne allergens.
- Minimizing lingering odors from cooking, pet dander, or smoke.
- Creating an overall cleaner home.
5. Check your registers. Keeping your registers free and clear of furniture and clutter is important. If your couch sits over a floor vent or blocks a wall vent, this will reduce the amount of warm air flowing into your home. Or, if your kid’s room is cold, make sure the vents aren’t covered with toys or clothes. Lastly, if you’ve closed some vents during the summer months because the air conditioning was too cold, don’t forget to open them up.
6. Have your furnace inspected yearly. To keep your furnace performing its best, schedule yearly inspections. Yearly inspections can uncover problems that, if not addressed, can lead to bigger, more expensive ones. An inspection may also indicate that a slight adjustment or tune-up is necessary, which is nothing unusual.
For other tips on staying warm this winter, click here.
Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.