While many new heating systems work better and are more effective than older furnaces, they don’t always provide the best energy efficiency. Here are some things you should consider as you search for the most efficient heating system for your home.
A gas furnace is a heating application that takes natural gas or propane in a furnace and ignites it after a thermostat signals that the room is too cold. This hot combustion gas leaves the furnace through sealed exhausts and two heat exchangers, then flows through air ducts to heat your home.
Gas furnaces are extremely popular, heating over 50% of homes in the USA. However, they are not always the best option.
Gas Furnace Maintenance
Making sure your gas furnace runs effectively all winter long is essential, especially in cool or cold climates. By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure your gas furnace is working as efficiently as possible:
- Look at the burner flames in the combustion chamber to see that they are burning evenly and with a blue tint.
- Clean out anywhere that has collected dust with a hand duster or vacuum.
- Take out the blower and clean it to remove dust and dirt.
- Change the filter often, at least every three months or whenever it is full.
- Use sandpaper to clean the flame sensor.
- Feel for any leaks coming from the air ducts and secure any cracks.
Gas Furnace Efficiency
Gas furnaces can be decently efficient and often have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating between 95% and 98%. The initial cost for a gas furnace can be quite low compared to the cost of a heat pump, and it will provide widespread heat and comfort throughout your home.
The monthly cost of using your furnace, however, can prove to be quite expensive due to heat escaping from the ductwork. Overall, operating a gas furnace can be on the pricier side.
Similar to the way a toaster oven or a hair dryer works, an electric furnace uses a multitude of electric heating components that produce heat through coils. Air is pulled through heat exchangers to warm it up, then pushed by the blower to heat your home.
Electric Furnace Maintenance
A clean and well-maintained electric furnace will help make sure your home is heated effectively and efficiently throughout the year. Following the tips on the list below will ensure you’re getting the best performance out of your electric furnace:
- Replace your air filter when it is dirty or when the air filter light switches on.
- Scrub away dirt from the air blower and use a vacuum to remove all debris.
- Make sure the motor housing is clean.
Electric Furnace Efficiency
Electric furnaces are extremely efficient because all of the furnace’s electricity is used to heat your home, unlike gas furnaces in which some of the energy is lost once combustion occurs.
Electricity, however, costs much more than gas in most parts of the U.S. So, although electric furnaces can be up to 100% energy-efficient, they may not be the most cost-efficient.
Heat pumps work similarly to a refrigerator because they take hot or cold air from one place and move it to another without burning any fuel. When it’s warm outside, heat pumps will pull heat from the inside and bring it outside. When it’s cold, heat pumps pull warm air from the outside and move it indoors.
Traditional heat pumps are connected to a furnace. The furnace blower helps to distribute heat from the heat pump, and the furnace itself will kick in to generate backup heat on extra cold days.
Heat Pump Maintenance
Heat pumps will both heat and cool your home, meaning you only have one system to monitor and take care of. Keeping up with your heat pump’s maintenance is very important if you want it to run efficiently.
Here are some easy ways to maintain your heat pump:
- Change your filters out monthly or as needed.
- Make sure the pump is never covered with water, snow, or debris.
- Keep all plants or vegetation at least two feet away from the heat pump at all angles.
- Clean the coils if you notice any buildup or dirt.
Heat Pump Efficiency
Heat pumps are highly efficient and an ideal solution in moderate climates like the Pacific Northwest. However, they become less efficient and effective in extremely cold weather.
Heat pumps usually use even less electricity than an electric furnace to heat your home, making them very inexpensive to run. Using a heat pump can save you up to 50% of heating or cooling costs every year.
Additional Tips to Having the Most Efficient Heating System
Regardless of what heating option you’re using in your household, you can improve the efficiency of your heating system by fixing insulation issues in your home and always making sure that your heating system is well maintained. Good HVAC maintenance can reduce your impact on the environment and save you up to 30% on your utility bills.
Using your heating system efficiently is crucial to maintaining its functionality. Use these tips to keep your heating systems working as efficiently as possible:
- Set your thermostat as low as possible while remaining comfortable in your home.
- Keep temperatures within 3-5 degrees of your usual at-home temperature when you are out of the house. Don’t turn the thermostat all the way down unless you will be gone for weeks, as this practice leads to longer run times and more energy usage when you return.
- Replace your filters often.
- Clean air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators when needed.
- Turn off any exhaust fans that have been running after twenty minutes of use.
- Open blinds and curtains during colder seasons to allow the sun to heat your home naturally.
Which Heating System Is Most Efficient For You?
Gas furnaces, electric furnaces, and heat pumps all have many benefits and drawbacks that homeowners may want to consider. Depending on your home and budget, Paragon Heating can offer you a home comfort solution that you can trust. If you live near Everett, WA, and have questions or need a heating system installed, call Paragon today at (425) 320-1276 for service.