You bought an energy-efficient furnace. So why have your heating bills shot up in recent years? As it turns out, even energy-efficient furnaces only conserve energy when they are operating properly, connected to a proper and effective system of ducts, and receive the proper maintenance. If your heating bills have increased in recent years, here are five possible reasons why.
Your furnace’s blower unit is designed to operate under a certain amount of pressure. If one or more of the vents in your system becomes blocked, the pressure inside the ducts increases, which forces the blower motor to work harder and use more energy. Many people close some vents in their home in an effort to reduce heating costs, but this practice tends to raise pressure levels in the ducts and drive energy bills up – not down.
Your vents may also be blocked by furniture. Open all vents and make sure they’re unobstructed, and then you may notice your heating bills decrease.
Ducts can also develop leaks over time. Vibrations from a mild earthquake can shake ducts loose, or animals in your walls may damage the ducts and lead to leaks. If a lot of heated air is leaving the ducts rather than being sent out through the vents, then your furnace will have to turn on more often to compensate.
Other signs of leaky ducts include slow airflow at one or more vents and warm spots on the walls or floors. Your HVAC contractor can check for leaky vents, and if needed, repair or replace the ducts that have come loose.
A thermostat that is not wired properly or that is beginning to fail may not communicate effectively with your furnace. For instance, the thermostat may detect that your home is still below the set temperature and trigger your furnace to turn on when the home is already warm enough. Over time, this leads to a lot of wasted energy.
Thermostat problems are common among homeowners who wired their own thermostats and did not do so properly. You may also have trouble if your thermostat is near a window or door that has become increasingly drafty. Thankfully, thermostats are not expensive to replace, and your HVAC contractor can even relocate your thermostat to improve its accuracy.
CLOGGED AIR FILTERS
How often do you change your furnace air filter? Most filters need to be changed every one to two months, but most homeowners forget about this task for months on end. It takes a lot more energy for your furnace to push air through a clogged filter than through a clean, fresh one. Start changing your air filter on the first of every month, and your heating bills will probably go down.
FAILING BLOWER MOTOR
Many times, the blower motor, which is the component that propels air through your heating system, starts experiencing problems before it fails completely. There may be a loose bearing in the system, a belt may be starting to fray, or the motor may just be dirty. All of these problems can make a motor less efficient.
If your furnace has been making any sort of rattling, squealing, or banging noises, then you probably have a problem with the blower. Most blower motor problems are pretty easy for your HVAC contractor to fix. You’ll probably recoup the cost of the repairs in energy savings.
If your once-efficient furnace has become less efficient, then there’s a good chance that multiple factors are at fault. Consider scheduling a furnace inspection to get to the source of the problem. An HVAC technician, like those at Authorized Heating & Air Conditioning. Inc., can look over your furnace, thermost