Keep Your Furnace Running While Saving Money on Heating Costs

Winter is a time of cold noses, sledding, family fun, and rising heating costs. If you’re like most homeowners, you want to spend as little as possible on your heating bills without having to spend the winter huddled up under multiple blankets. Luckily, there are several things you can do as a homeowner to keep your energy bills in check, including prepping your home and furnace for winter.

Here are a few tips to help you care for your furnace, prepare your home for winter, and keep your energy bills from skyrocketing.

Prep Your Furnace Before You Turn It On

Before the first snowflakes fall and the temperatures plummet, it’s important to prepare your furnace for winter. Taking these few small steps will help ensure that your furnace runs smoothly and that you don’t need to spend several freezing hours waiting for a repairman to arrive.

Here are a few steps you should take before you even turn on your furnace this winter:

Replace the Air Filter

The easiest and most effective thing you can do to prep your furnace for winter is to change the air filter. There are several types of air filter available, and the one you choose will be based on your needs and budget. For example, if any family members suffer from allergies, a HEPA filter is a great choice.

Check Your Thermostat

Check the batteries in your thermostat and make sure it is functional. Upgrading to a programmable thermostat now is a great way to help you save money in the winter.<.p> Check Your Registers

Locate all the registers in your home, and make sure there are no obstructions. Anything blocking your register will also block any heat coming from it.

Take this opportunity to schedule an inspection with your trusted HVAC technician. Your technician will pinpoint any problems before they occur and help ensure your furnace is in the best condition possible before you really need it.

Learn the Warning Signs of Furnace Malfunction

Nothing is worse than waking up one winter morning to chilly temperatures inside your home. Unfortunately, even if you go to great lengths to keep your furnace running, it still might malfunction. One obvious sign of a furnace malfunction is that your furnace is either blowing cold air or not working at all. However, there are other signs to watch for that could mean your furnace is about to quit.

Here are a few signs that your furnace is malfunctioning.

A Yellow Pilot Light 

If you have a natural gas furnace, the flame that you see when the unit kicks on should always be blue. A yellow flame signals a very serious problem: a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a deadly poison that must be eliminated from your home immediately. If you notice a yellow flame and smell sulfur, turn off your furnace immediately, leave your home, and contact an HVAC technician.

Odd Noises 

Your furnace will make several noises, and only a handful are signs of a potential problem. If you hear a new popping, clanging, or banging noise, call a professional to have it inspected. The noise could be a sign that there is a loose screw or that something on your HVAC system is failing.

Short Cycling

Short cycling refers to a furnace that constantly kicks on and off. Short cycling is typically a sign that you have a damaged or clogged air filter, a busted thermostat, or an issue with circulation. Whatever the case, the problem should be addressed by a professional.

Old Age

One of the biggest signs that your furnace might malfunction is its age. The average furnace has a lifespan of anywhere from 15 to 30 years. If your furnace is reaching the 30-year mark, contact a professional to determine if it is time to upgrade your current model.

Winterize Your Home

Finally, in addition to keeping your furnace in peak condition, you can also make some changes to your home that will help keep the heat in and the cold outside where it belongs. This will keep your home cozy and your heating bills lower. There are several inexpensive ways you can winterize your home today.

For example, adding new weather stripping and running a bead of caulk around your windows is a great way to eliminate any drafts. Installing plastic film over your windows will also help prevent drafts from cooling down your home.

If you take these steps and your home is still chilly, consider more drastic ways to keep the heat in. Having new insulation placed in your attic is one option. You could also have new windows and storm doors installed throughout your home.

If you’re having trouble keeping your winter energy costs under control, there are several options available to help you save money and stay warm. If you have any additional questions, contact the professionals at Ragan Mechanical.

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