How's your old gas furnace doing? Do you think it's time to get rid of it? Can you afford the upgrade? Many furnaces still have a lot of life in them. Even better, you can help your older gas furnace perform better than you thought it could with two broad efficiency tips.
1. Expand Your Focus Beyond the Furnace
Even a brand new, high-efficiency furnace can only do so much for an overall non-efficient home. Never forget that your home's comfort bubble depends on far more than your furnace. Even if you have a really old 60% efficiency furnace, you can help it to help you by sealing up your home.
Insulate and seal everything – Figuring out ways to insulate and seal your home will help the heat your furnace generates to stay in its intended space. This goes for windows, doors, and even your ductwork.
Make sure your thermostat behaves – Your thermostat dictates how hard your furnace must work at any given time. Always make sure it's set to the proper temperature setting for your needs. One of the best things you can do regarding this is to upgrade to programmable thermostat. If you already have one, make sure the batteries are fresh.
2. Routinely Maintain Your Furnace
Maintaining your old gas furnace serves multiple purposes. It keeps it running as intended, and it will give you a good idea of how well it's doing. Even in newer furnaces, a lack of maintenance can cause efficiency to drop precipitously.
It's important that you do what you can, but don't go overboard. There are some forms of maintenance that you should only let professionals handle. But before you start, see if you can get your hands on a copy of your furnace's manual. Manufacturers usually include maintenance steps that you can take.
If you can't find the owner's manual, check the manufacturer's website. If you can find no help, there are still two things you can do to help keep your gas furnaces chugging along.
Check and replace air filters – This is one of the easiest and most important things you can do yourself. Air filters are cheap, so you can change them whenever one looks dirty.
The air filter usually slides right out for easy swapping. If you have a reusable filter, then you can slide it out, vacuum it, rinse it, let it dry, then slide it back in. If you're replacing a filter, you can usually find the proper size printed on the border of the old filter.
Call in a professional – For anything beyond the air filter, you should call in a professional. Your manual should tell you what steps are okay for you to perform yourself.
But if you can't find official documentation, you should let a professional furnace contractor inspect and clean your furnace. A contractor will also make sure each part of it is functioning, lubricate the motor, and check other HVAC components as well. A professional can also let you know how much life your gas furnace has left.
Insulating your home and maintaining your furnace are good ideas for furnaces of any age. For an older furnace, these things are essential if you want any amount of efficiency out of it. If you're unsure whether it's worth it to keep your old gas furnace, ask a professional.
For professional help, contact a company such as Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc.