Three Ways to Make Your Furnace More Efficient

Posted on: 7 March 2016

If you are a homeowner who has been having trouble getting the furnace in the home to heat up quickly and efficiently, you do have to get the system looked at. But try these three things first to see if the problem isn't due to something more mundane. Simple issues can make the heater system seem like something is very wrong, but these issues can also be fixed relatively quickly.

Clean the System

It's entirely possible that the system is just so full of dust that the dust can't even burn off. You know how you get a slight burning smell when you first turn on the heater after it's been off for months? Sometimes the amount of dust in the system is so widespread that it continues to affect how the heater operates. Any dust on the parts that get hot will still burn off. But dust that's collected in the vents and on other portions of the heater won't necessarily burn off, and it won't always blow freely out of the vents (though it's probably best not to have dust coming out of the vents, of course).

Try vacuuming around vent openings; if you have baseboard heaters, see if you can remove the casing (there's usually some way to do that, even just lifting the casing up) and vacuum carefully inside. For central systems, you may need to arrange for an HVAC company to do the cleaning.

Change the Filters More Often

Dusty, clogged filters prevent warm air from blowing from the furnace to the vents in central systems. You should be changing your furnace filter often to keep the system in good shape, but it's common to find filters that haven't been changed for months or even years (and that's as gross as it sounds). Filters are available at home improvement stores and have arrows printed on them to show which way they go into the furnace. Open the filter door (the location varies on each furnace model, but it's usually on the side or front), slide out the filter, check the model number, get a replacement, and slide the replacement in. Trash the old filter.

Unblock Vents

Is your house old? Did you just move in? Do you not organize your home regularly? You may have blocked a vent. Check behind furniture and anything else leaning against the wall to see if there is a vent there. Not all vents are located near the ceiling; some are by the floor and are easy to forget about. Move whatever's in front of the vents you find.

If you are still having trouble, though, it's time to call in an HVAC service company for inspection and repair. Chances are the problem will be straightforward, so don't delay contacting a specialist.