How to Ease the Burden on Your Older Furnace This Winter
Is your furnace 10 years old or older? The typical lifespan of a furnace is between 10 and 15 years, so if yours is approaching this age, a furnace replacement is just over the horizon.
As long as your furnace is still keeping your home warm, the middle of winter is not the best time to replace it. Instead, follow these tips to ease the burden on your furnace through the rest of this winter. With any luck, it will last until air conditioning season, which is a better time to replace it.
Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Most ceiling fans are reversible. There is probably a switch on the mechanical casing of your fan, and if you flip the switch, the fan will begin spinning counterclockwise. In this direction, the blades push air downward. Since hot air rises, the air they are pushing downward is warm, which results in your room feeling warmer. With the warmth more evenly distributed, your furnace does not have to work quite as hard.
The average ceiling fan costs less than two cents per hour to operate, so running yours for a few hours a day won’t dramatically raise your energy bills.
Change Your Air Filter
The dirtier your air filter, the more energy it takes your furnace to push air through the filter. After a winter of pushing air through a clogged filter, your older furnace may wear out prematurely. Thankfully, changing your air filter only takes a few minutes.
Pull the old filter out of its slot. Position the new filter with the arrows pointing up and lower it into the slot. Replace your filter every few months to ease the burden on your furnace.
Bundle Up and Turn the Thermostat Down
The lower you set your thermostat, the less your furnace will need to work. Most people can find 62 or 64 degrees comfortable as long as they put on an extra layer. Make long sleeves and sweatshirts your go-to outfits at home and keep blankets handy. Instead of turning the temperature down all at once, try turning it down one degree every two or three days to allow your body time to adapt.
Open All of Your Vents
Sometimes homeowners close the air vents in rooms they don’t use in an attempt to conserve energy. Unfortunately, this can backfire. With some of the air vents closed, pressure can build within your ducts. Your furnace fan then has to push against this higher pressure to operate, putting additional strain on the unit.
Open all of your air vents to ease the burden on your furnace. Also, make sure there’s no furniture pushed up against the air vents, blocking the flow of air.
Seal Any Leaks
If heat is leaving your home through gaps around windows and under doors, your furnace has to work extra hard to replace that lost heat. You can ease the burden on your furnace just by sealing those leaks. Press rope caulk into any gaps around your windows. Replace any chipped or peeling weather-stripping on the bottoms of doors and place door snakes along the bottoms of doors.
Also, make sure you close the door promptly after you enter or exit your home and encourage family members to do the same. Standing there with the door open is not good for your aging furnace.
Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid making your furnace work too hard this winter. If the system has run past its 10 to 15 year lifespan, contact the experts at Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar to schedule your furnace replacement. We install both propane and natural gas furnaces from a range of manufacturers and strive to keep you comfortable year round.