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Two Tips to Improve Furnace Efficiency

Improving the efficiency of your residential furnace is easier than you think. The following are two tips designed to improve the functionality of your furnace and help save you a little money on your energy bills.

1) Replace your residential furnace filter

Replacing the filter on your residential furnace once a month can improve your furnace’s efficiency and improve the air quality in your home. A clogged furnace filter loses the ability to remove particles from the air, causing your furnace to work harder and less efficiently.

Changing the air filter on your residential furnace is an easy task.

  1. Locate the old filter on your furnace. You may need a screwdriver in order to open the panel that protects the filter. Pull it out and make note of the size and type of filter you need to purchase. If the filter is a paper or fiberglass model, you will need to replace it. It’s important to note the full dimensions, including the thickness. Dry foam filters can be washed out or vacuumed cleaned.
  2. It’s important that you place your residential furnace filter back into your furnace correctly. Fiberglass and paper filters will have an arrow on the frame that shows the direction of the air flow from the filter. Foam filters are less likely to have directions, so be sure to note the proper direction when you remove the filter from your unit.

If you’re not sure how to replace your residential furnace filter, ask the Arctic Heating & Cooling technician during your annual furnace inspection. If you or any of your family members suffer from allergies, make sure you tell your technician. They may be able to recommend a different filter based on your symptoms and furnace model.

2) Inspect your ductwork for leaks

This tip assumes that you can see and access the ductwork of your residential furnace. If you can’t, you can still use this tip as a guide for insulating the furnace unit itself.

  1. Regularly cleaning your ductwork of access dirt and dust can help improve the efficiency of your furnace immensely. To do this, wet a towel and start by wiping the joints off your ductwork. You can also vacuum the joints.
  2. After you’ve wiped the ducts, check the air dampers (valves) on each duct and make sure they are open/closed depending on which room they are leading to. It can be hard to tell which ducts lead to which rooms, but a little patience and practice will help you sort this out.
  3. Once you’ve cleaned your ducts, it’s time to check for any air leaks. To do this, you can either light a candle or hold a tissue up to the joints in your ductwork.  If the candle flickers or the tissue moves, you’ve found a leak. If the leak is minor, you can seal it with mastic (a flexible, paint-on sealant) or foil HVAC tape (note: this is not the same as duct tape). Areas that have large gaps or significant damage will require patching with metal duct pieces that you can purchase at any hardware store.
  4. For added efficiency, the technicians at Arctic Heating & Cooling recommend insulating your ducts with radiant barrier (this type of insulation has foil on both sides and insulated bubbles in the middle). Simply wrap the radiant barrier around the ductwork of your residential furnace, cutting it so that the ends meet. seal all of the joints and edges with foil tape. You can also seal the exposed portions of your furnace with radiant barrier and foil tape. If you have a gas furnace, make sure that you avoid putting insulation near the heat source or air intake for safety purposes.

Sealing your registers is one final way to increase the efficiency of your residential furnace. Check to make sure that each register is clear of debris and that the ends of the ducts themselves meet the ends of the register cover. Seal any seams with foil tape.

Do you have questions about the efficiency of your residential furnace? Then give us a call at 519-627-6726. A technician would be happy to lend a hand.