Heating your home is your largest energy expense, “making up about 42% of your utility bill” (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Unfortunately, the same heating mistakes get made over and over again. While there are many things you can do to restore heat and improve the energy efficiency of your heating system, there are also a lot of things you shouldn’t do. Here are the top 5 heating mistakes we come across nearly every single day.
Top 5 Home Heating Mistakes
Cranking Up the Thermostat for Quicker Heat
Do NOT try to heat (or cool) your home faster by turning the thermostat way up or way down. Your HVAC system operates at one speed and outputs the same amount of conditioned air no matter what temperature your thermostat is set to. When your thermostat sends a command to your HVAC system, it runs until the desired temperature level is reached. You aren’t increasing the heating or cooling rate, you’re just increasing the operating time of the system. So set the thermostat to the temperature you want and let it be.
While most HVAC systems have fans that are either on or off (like a light switch), variable-speed fans adjust their speed based on the needs of your home. Variable-speed air handlers, however, normally run at slower speeds, not faster ones. The longer-running variable-speed fans save you money by reducing the amount of energy needed for frequent starts and stops.
Running at half-speed for most of the time, the variable-speed motor uses a lot less energy. With more air flowing through your ducts and filtration system throughout the day, your indoor air quality will improve right alongside your energy savings.
Forgetting to Change Air Filters
Not changing your air filters not only increase your energy bill; it may prevent your furnace from working at all. A clogged, dirty air filter is bad for your HVAC unit; it is also bad for your indoor air quality.
Especially if you have pets, but even if you don’t, a dirty air filter makes respiratory, asthma, and allergy problems even worse. So set a reminder to check your air filter every 30 days by removing it from its slot and holding it up to the light. If light is blocked and cannot pass through, your air filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned or replaced ASAP.
We recommend changing your air filter every 30-60 days, or better yet, follow the manufacturer instructions. When you replace your air filter, write the date of replacement on the filter itself so you know exactly how long it has been since your last filter replacement.
Click here for more information on air filtration.
Not Scheduling Annual Heating Maintenance
By not scheduling annual heating maintenance, you’re asking for trouble. Forget about expensive repairs and a lower life expectancy of your HVAC system, not scheduling annual maintenance means that your HVAC warranty is no longer valid.
Much like your car, your heating and cooling system needs to be professionally tuned up every year. Your equipment will last longer and run more safely and efficiently, in addition to fulfilling the requirements of your manufacturer’s warranty.
Keep your warranties intact and save time and money with our Maintenance Value Plan.
Installing a New Thermostat Yourself
Installing a thermostat may seem like an easy DIY chore, but unfortunately it’s a lot harder than you think. Not all thermostats work with all HVAC systems, so you want to make sure that the new thermostat can work with your existing system before shelling out the money.
You may get lucky if you have a furnace, but you have an alternative system, like a boiler or heat pump, you’ll need a professional technician to wire and set up your new thermostat properly. Thermostats should be completely level and away from any heat sources, including sunlight. Many new thermostats such as NEST are connected to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control your home’s thermostat conveniently from your phone and computer.
Click here for more information on thermostat repairs and replacements.
Installing or Repairing a Heating System Yourself
Unless you want to win a Darwin Award and face the expensive consequences, NEVER attempt to repair or install a heating (or cooling) system on your own. This includes any significant repairs as well. HVAC work require advanced knowledge and training. Even if you have all of the right tools, it’s a lot more complicated than you might think.
There are reasons behind all of the codes and permits that local and federal governments require. Codes, permits, and inspections are there to make sure your HVAC unit works safely and efficiently. Even with the professionals, things can go wrong, so make sure that you take the time to vet the contractors bidding for your business.
Leave all HVAC-related repairs to the professionals and never attempt anything more complicated than changing air filters or thermostat batteries.
Heating Tips – Things You Should Do
Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy
- How Should I Set My Thermostat? 6 Money-Saving Tips
- Top Home Maintenance Tips for Your Furnace
- HVAC Preventive Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter
- Top 10 Tips for an Energy-Efficient Holiday Season
If you have any comments or questions, we’d love to hear them!
Superior HVAC with Service Champions
Service Champions Heating & Air Conditioning is a Diamond Certified Company for Northern California. We want to help keep your energy bills low and your HVAC system working safely and efficiently all year long.
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