I’m always saying that replacing a furnace just because it’s not the most efficient isn’t serving the customer well. When you are trying to reduce your energy costs replacing the furnace or a/c unit is not the first thing you should look at, it’s in fact the last thing that should be considered. This article about HVAC trends is a listing of the order in which you should make energy improvements to your home. Many of them can be executed by the home owner for a small amount of money. So, as long as your furnace is working make sure it’s cleaned and inspected and you change the filters regularly consider the following improvements to your home’s energy efficiency.
- Seal air leaks. By using a fluffy feather you can hold it up to areas that may be getting a draft to see if there’s a significant air leak. If the feather blows a little, then try to plug the leak with sealer or weather stripping of some sort. Your local home center offers a variety of products to stop air leaks
- Seal your ducts. Warm or cool air leaking from your ductwork before it reaches the room it’s meant to can add up to a lot of additional heating or cooling costs. Seal the seams with mastic or duct tape.
- Adjust Air flow. By using the dampers on your ducts in the basement you can force more air into the rooms you use most or to even out the temperatures throughout the house.
- Keep your attic cool. Make sure that your attic is vented correctly. Ideally it should be the same temperature as the outside air. If it’s not then adding a powered fan in the roof of your home can keep it as cool up there as possible during the warm months of the year.
- Add insulation. Homes in Rochester NY need 26 inches of insulation in the attic. If your basement is unfinished, you should also insulate the ceiling of the basement. If you have a very old home 60 or more years you may have no insulation in your walls, consider having this evaluated by a professional like Northern Comfort Heating and Cooling. By adding insulation you can often cut your energy bill in half.
- Upgrade your water heater. Upgrading to a tankless water heater can drastically reduce the amount of gas or electricity is being used in your home. Because this type of water heater is on demand you are only heating the water you are currently using, you are not going to be paying to keep 40 gallons of water hot that’s just sitting there even when it’s not being used. With a tankless water heater you can also install a heat pump to replace your furnace.
- Upgrade your Furnace and A/C unit. If you have completed all of the first 6 of the energy improvements and still have a high bill then consider buying a new furnace and a/c unit that’s 95% efficient or better or using a heat pump if you have a tankless water heater. Northern Comfort heating and Cooling can help you make the best decision for your home.