In our last post we shared some expensive heating mistakes that you may be making – even with the best money-saving intentions. Today we’ve got a couple more myth-busters for you, not to mention some serious safety warnings.
If you have questions about anything you read, or want to discuss your heating needs, just ask!
1. Myth: As Long As You’ve Already Paid For A Repair, You May As Well Keep Repairing Your Unit Until It Dies
Everyone knows that feeling: you pour money into repairing something, whether it’s your furnace or your car, and the next time it breaks down you look at your investment and can’t seem to justify replacing it. After all, you just spent money to fix it, why would you get rid of it now?
So you throw good money after bad in a downward spiral of expenses.
The problem with running your furnace into the ground is that you’re probably increasing costs as you do. First there’s the cost to run your Frankenstein monster – systems with part replacements upon part replacements can start to work less efficiently overall, increasing energy bills with each repair.
Then there’s the escalating cost of repairs. The older your system gets, the more it wears out, and the more mismatched the parts, the worse things get.
Finally, you know that somewhere in your future is the coldest day of the year and that’s the one your furnace is finally going to conk out. Then you’ll be scrambling for emergency services, and that can cost you, too.
If you’ve repaired an older system and find yourself needing more repair, stop! Consider that the money you put into previous repairs is gone, no matter what you do. It’s time to think about the best way to spend the money still in your hand.
Start scoping out a new system. Get a free quote, ask questions, find out what your options are for financing and rebates. You’ll avoid the inevitable money pit, not to mention the dread as your furnace gasps its last breath. Plan now and you’ll be better off in the long run.
2. Myth: Raising The Temperature Really High Will Heat A Room Faster
You walk into your frigid house after a day of work or a weekend getaway, and the first thing you do is raise the thermostat. You want to warm up as quickly as possible so you raise it *a lot*. Makes sense that your system will crank out more heat, faster, right?
Nope. The fact is, it just doesn’t work that way. Your furnace is either on or off – not *sort of* on or REALLY on.
Putting the temperature up high won’t cause your unit to break a sweat – it will continue to pump out heat regularly, evenly, as intended, until the room reaches the temperature you desire. But it may make *you* break a sweat when you realize you left it on high and it’s been cranking through your paycheck that whole time.
If you don’t want to walk into a cold home, consider a wifi thermostat instead. They can be programmed to raise and lower the temperature at certain times of day, even “learning” your routine to maximize your energy savings. Some have geofencing capabilities, which means it can recognize when you’re within, say, five miles of your home and turn the heat up in anticipation of your arrival.
In a pinch, you can even control it from your smart phone, so you can prepare your home for a comfortable return.
3. Myth: Space Heaters Save On Heating Costs
To be fair, space heaters *can* save you some money on heating costs, under some circumstances. If you lower your thermostat across the board and use an energy-efficient space heater in one, relatively small space (like an office or bedroom, NOT to heat your entire first floor or living room) then you may see some cost savings over running your central system all day.
But nobody can make a blanket statement about how much – or whether – space heaters will save. There are just too many variables.
Keep in mind that the cost of electricity is typically twice the cost of natural gas, which means running an electric space heater is going to rack up expenses more quickly than a gas furnace.
There’s also the practical reality that a lot of people use space heaters on top of their central systems. That means both running at the same time, for additional warmth and comfort. And *that* means extra bills.
Then there are the myriad safety warnings that come with space heaters. Don’t leave them on while you sleep. Keep them away from curtains. Watch out for burnt cat whiskers and singed tails. Keep them out of the reach of children.
When you consider that thousands of home fires each year are started by space heaters, a few bucks on your electric bill may seem like a small price to pay for your family’s safety and the preservation of your home.
If you’re struggling that hard to keep warm, you may have issues a space heater simply can’t fix. Get in touch with your HVAC pro to find out if your system is old, in need of maintenance, or running inefficiently. You may have badly leaking ducts or poor insulation. Your system could be sized improperly – too large or too small, either will surely mess up its effectiveness. Or you may have an ideal scenario to take advantage of ductless heating. The bottom line: you’ve got options!
4. Myth: I Can Skip Yearly Maintenance Just This Once
Did you know that having your system maintained annually is the single most important thing you can do to keep it working effectively and your energy costs down? Now you do!
Here’s another tidbit: your furnace can lose up to 15% of its efficiency in a single season! Maintenance is what keeps that inefficiency from compounding and gets your system back in top shape.
In fact, a whole lot of repair calls can be prevented by catching issues during maintenance that would otherwise be unnoticed until something goes very wrong.
It’s a safety issue, too. Your furnace is connected to a fuel source, like gas or oil, which is combustible. That makes it an automatic potential threat. Damaged, malfunctioning parts can cause fires, but sometimes the danger doesn’t make such a dramatic entrance. A corroded or cracked heat exchanger, for example, can emit carbon monoxide, slowly poisoning everyone in the house. Without proper inspection and maintenance, you may not notice until it’s too late.
Plus, consider this: most manufacturers will void a warranty if you miss maintenance. That means if something does go wrong, you won’t even be covered for repairs or replacement. And that’s bad news for your bottom line.
For the sake of your wallet and your safety, we hope you’ve learned something valuable from busting these myths today. If you haven’t had your furnace maintained in a while, we can help. And if you’d like to discuss replacing on old, inefficient system, we’ll provide a free estimate. Just let us know what you need – we care about your comfort!