Updated: May 2023
Nothing is as fulfilling as enjoying a winter day inside your home where the temperature is warm. However, heating your home during chilly winter days can be quite expensive. This is because heaters consume a lot of gas or electricity, and if used over an extended period, it can lead to excessive energy bills.
Heaters are fundamental components in homes. They are convenient devices that offer focused and localized heat in our homes. However, most people forget to check their efficiency as they always assume that they are running at optimal performance. Here’s what you may not realize. The more you stay without having professionals inspect your heater, the less efficient it becomes. This is because your heater may face serious risks such as a build-up of dirt and debris, breakdowns, clogging, and others. Ultimately, you end up paying hefty energy bills since your furnace will try to work two times more since its efficiency is already compromised.
If you want to save money and minimize your energy use, it is imperative to ensure that your furnace changes its fuel source into heating power with a little amount of waste. To ensure that your furnace stays as energy-efficient as possible in las Vegas, NV, it is vital to schedule regular maintenance from experts like those at BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair. We have extensive knowledge in maintenance and energy efficiency, and we can help you save money while keeping your home comfortable throughout the winter. Below are some of the ways to check whether your heater is energy efficient:
1. Determine Your Furnace AFUE Rating
AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Rate. Determining your AFUE rating is an excellent way to examine your furnace’s efficiency in converting fuel into energy (natural gas, electricity, and propane). It is measured in percentages. AFUE rating is directly proportional to energy efficiency. For instance, a furnace that has a 95% AFUE rating can convert 95% of the energy it consumes into heat. The remaining 5% of the fuel’s energy is lost, usually through a chimney flue or PVC drain pipe.
A higher AFUE rating means exceptional energy efficiency. The lowest standard AFUE for new furnaces is 78%. An average furnace usually has an AFUE rating between 80% and 85%, while furnaces with optimum energy efficiency range between 90% and 97%.
There is nothing complicated with comprehending your AFUE rating. All you need is to take your furnace’s AFUE rating and subtract it from 100. What remains is the amount lost per one dollar spent. For instance, if your furnace has an AFUE rating of 95, you are losing $0.05 per $1 spent.
As a homeowner, it is crucial to understand that a furnace’s efficiency rating is just a portion of the heater’s overall performance. Apart from AFUE rating, your furnace may malfunction if it has a clogged air filter, dirty ductwork, or does not receive routine professional furnace maintenance every year.
Whenever you skip your home furnace’s maintenance, the furnace has an increased potential risk of losing a certain percentage of its efficiency, which can eventually lead to a steep surge in heating costs.
2. Check the Age of Your Heater
Your furnace is supposed to heat all areas of your home uniformly. However, as it gets older, it might experience challenges warming all areas of your house. That is why regular maintenance is crucial.
Although routine maintenance of your heater is crucial, it is not guaranteed that its performance will never be compromised. Your heater may have the highest AFUE rating, but as time progresses, heaters tend to lose their efficiency level by approximately 5% every year.
Most top-rated heaters have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. However, once the furnace attains 10 to 15 years’ mark, its efficiency may start to decline drastically due to wear and tear and corrosion. At this point, you should consider replacing your heater to avoid incurring unnecessary costs that emanate from repair bills or higher energy use.
Before your furnace is replaced, you should schedule your furnace inspection to prevent carbon monoxide leaks, clean built-up rust, and dirt, and clean the air filters.
Luckily, furnace replacement has become easier since today’s market features cost-efficient heaters that use less energy. Therefore, since your outdated heater may be consuming too much energy, it is time for an upgrade.
3. Evaluate Your Energy Bills
Energy bills are never constant and may keep changing from time to time due to various factors. However, sudden and abnormal variations in your energy bills can be an indication of some underlying issues with your heaters. An excellent way to monitor how your system operates as it starts aging is to compare bills from previous years.
If you notice a considerable difference in your bills from previous years, the structural integrity of your furnace might have been compromised. As you check your bills, don’t forget other external factors when making a comparison, such as cold snap or other factors that may interfere with your home’s overall efficiency.
4. Conduct an Airtightness Test
Airtight tests measure the total air lost through leaks and other possible drafts in a building, especially the areas surrounding windows, doors, and fireplaces. This is usually known as unregulated ventilation. The airtight test can help identify whether the issue is coming from the heater or maybe how your home is constructed. In most cases, building designs will evaluate airtightness during the initial construction stages to ensure it complies.
If your house has tight windows, it enhances the efficiency of the entire home. The same principle applies to insulation since a lot of heat is lost through the roof of your home. You can test your home airtightness by using license sticks. This process encompasses lighting an incense stick and merging them to areas that could potentially be causing a draft, such as electrical outlets, windows, or chimneys.
Air leaks cause the tips of the sticks to glow, thus distributing smoke. This helps you know the different types of drafts to solve, closing gaps and joints, blocking vents, fixing other windows, among others, thus enhancing the overall performance of your heating system.
As a homeowner, you need to find the best furnace for your home. If you feel your current energy bills are overwhelming or have overstayed with your furnace, it is time to upgrade. However, it is important to observe routine maintenance of your heater to maintain the efficiency of your heater.
If you want to have your furnace serviced or replaced, contact BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair. We also offer other plumbing services in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, and we will be excited to give you our top-rated services. Our services include heating and cooling services, duct installation and sealing, and indoor air quality solutions.