Are you making costly heating repair mistakes and damaging your furnace or HVAC system? You might be! Read on to find out for sure!
Did you know:
Your HVAC system probably represents the single largest cash investment inside your home? Bigger than all other appliances, bigger even than some kitchen remodels –
But it’s okay.
It’s a big, scary machine, and there’s a lot of advice flying around online and among friends, a lot of “hacks” and tips to help your system work.
Some of them are great. Some of them are not. This article is about those tips that are doing nothing, or worse, doing harm. As you’re scrolling, remember that your pals at Metro Energy Savers are here to help you save money.
Heating Myth Number One: Setting the thermostat higher will heat the house faster.
Even in homes with programmable or smart thermostats, we see this one. You come home, and it’s a bit chillier than you like, so you kick the thermostat up ten degrees so it will “hurry up” and get three or four degrees warmer.
Sounds good, right?
But it’s complete nonsense.
Your furnace isn’t a dimmer switch; it’s an on/off switch. Multi-stage compressors allow it to function like a three-way light bulb, but it’s still either on or off. Setting a higher temperature isn’t going to help. Period.
If you want your house to be seventy degrees, set your thermostat to seventy and wait. It’s better for your system, and for your comfort. Changing settings frequently or asking HVAC equipment to work too hard is a good way to cause problems.
Heating Myth Number Two: Turn the system off if you’re not going to be there.
This one is prevalent, and we get why: the notion that when something’s off, it isn’t costing you makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t have any more truth to it than the first. While it’s technically accurate that you’re not burning fuel when the system is off, you run into trouble when you turn it on again.
Here’s the thing:
Starting the system takes more energy – by a lot – than running it on low.
It takes your furnace about twenty minutes to hit peak efficiency. During that time, it’s using more energy than it should. Further, cycling things on and off to try to save money will inevitably lead to more wear and tear.
Instead of turning your system off, look into modes that save power. Running it at lower settings allows it to remain efficient. Utilizing a two-stage or variable compressor takes that to the next level, as well.
(That’s an option for furnace installation, not for furnace repair, but it’s something to keep in mind.)
Heating Myth Number Three: Use space heaters to supplement a weak heater to save money.
This is a dangerous myth. Most contractors will turn suddenly quite serious when confronted with this one because space heaters should not be used regularly in the home.
They’re meant to warm workshops, garages, workspaces, semi-enclosed spaces, etc. Once in a while, using one in a pinch to warm you on a bitter winter evening is alright.
But if your furnace isn’t doing the job it’s designed for, your answer should be a call to Metro Energy Savers, not a trip to a department store to grab a cheap space heater.
Let’s carry it further, too:
Space heaters aren’t cheap to run. They’re cheap to manufacture.
They use a fair amount of electricity, and they dry out the air. Their efficiency rating is below even the most outdated (working) natural gas furnaces. So running one for hours at a time will run your bill up in the same way that running a window unit air conditioner would.
And one more thing:
Space heaters are responsible for a large number of house fires every year. People forget to keep them three feet away from walls and curtains, and fire is the unfortunate result.
A space heater has its place in the world. They do a specific job quite well.
But that job is not heating your home.
Heating Myth Number Four: If you have leaky ductwork, grab your duct tape.
We love duct tape. It’s great for all kinds of things. There are whole websites devoted to the creative use of everyone’s favorite wonder-tool. But, unfortunately, there is one shocking bubble to burst when it comes to duct tape:
It’s pretty terrible at sealing ducts.
Why is it called that, then? Funny story.
It was designed by Johnson & Johnson during World War II, to help keep moisture out of ammo cases. The original rolls were the same drab green as everything else in the army. Johnson & Johnson never named their product.
20 years later, the stuff was going by “duct tape,” because back then, it was commonly used to wrap ductwork. Over the years since then, however, it’s been rendered obsolete by HVAC tape, which is a premium product that can withstand high heat. You’ll recognize it by it’s distinctive “foil” look, similar to emergency thermal blankets. It seals against moisture, vapor, and heat loss or temperature exchange.
Heating Myth Number Five: Save money – use your fireplace.
We hate to be the bearer of even more bad news, but your fireplace is not a big money saver. It’s a big, beautiful, roaring, ambient, romantic, cozy, completely inefficient and outdated heating source.
This isn’t the Colonial era, guys. Use your fireplace, sure – but be aware that its purpose is more aesthetic than functional these days.
First, because you have to buy firewood, in most cases, unless you live in a rural area with lots of lands and don’t mind slinging an axe or hauling deadfall.
Second, your chimney carries an awful lot of heat out with the smoke. That means that a fair amount of your money is soaring to join the clouds.
Stay tuned for even more myths in future posts – and reach out to the experts at Metro Energy Saver today to learn how you can save money!