Give Your Heating System Some Love This Fall

September 20, 2018

Fall is here and the heat’s about to come on at home. You rely on your heating system to keep you comfortable throughout the cold months of the year. And right now, your heating is relying on you to get it prepared to do its job efficiently and effectively.

Follow these tips to get your heating system geared up for prime time.

Schedule an annual maintenance appointment

To ensure your heating system is ready to go for fall and winter, start with a professional evaluation. An HVAC specialist will inspect your system to make sure it’s in good working order. He or she will also clean your system to ensure it operates efficiently. Making the investment in annual professional maintenance can help prolong the life of your system, helping you ward off large repair bills or system replacement.

In addition to having your system serviced professionally, there are a few things you can do on your own to improve the efficiency and comfort of your home’s heating system.

Change the air filter once a month

If you own a gas furnace, changing the air filter frequently during heating system is one of the easiest ways you can improve your system’s efficiency. A dirty filter will impede warm air from circulating throughout your home, which means it will take longer to warm up and use more energy in the process. Set a reminder on your phone or put one on your calendar to help you remember this easy, but very effective tip.

Keep vents clear from furniture

Another way to improve air flow with a forced hot air system is to keep plenty of distance between furniture and the vents where warm air circulates. A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least a foot and a half between furniture and vents. Again, impeding air flow will increase the time it takes to warm your home. Improper air circulation can also reduce indoor air quality, keeping winter illnesses like the common cold or flu present in your home.

Bleed radiators at the beginning of the heating season

If you have a gas boiler with radiators, you need to ensure there isn’t air trapped in the radiators by bleeding them. Radiators take longer to warm up if there is air trapped inside. A radiator key, which is available at most hardware stores, will allow you to open the radiator and release any air. Turn on your heating system to get it warmed up. Once it’s warm, turn the radiator key on the radiator. You may hear air escaping the radiator. Once it turns to water, turn the radiator key to close the radiator. Now your radiator should be filled with water and will warm up quicker.  

Install a Wi-Fi thermostat

Truth told, any programmable thermostat will help you improve the efficiency of your heating system by reducing the temperature during times when you’re away from home. However, many Wi-Fi thermostat models contain convenient features that make it even easier to adjust to the ideal temperatures for comfort while you’re home or energy savings while you’re away. Some models will learn your behaviors and preferences. Some models will adjust based on outdoor weather conditions. All Wi-Fi thermostats can be controlled by your smartphone so you can check in on your heating system while on the go and get your house warmed up right before you walk through the door.

Stop drafts with air sealing

If you feel cool air blowing through your home in the fall and winter, even when you have the windows closed, you have air leaks. A leaky home uses more energy and can struggle to keep you warm if there are a number of leaks. Common areas where leaks occur include the area around windows and door frames, near electrical outlets, and in your attic. Some leaks you can detect take care of yourself. For example you can caulk around window frames or add a door sweep under doors leading to the outside. Other leaks may require a home energy specialist to uncover and seal. These could include air leaks  through your air ducts, where nearly 30% of warmed air escapes. Though it may be tempting to seal those leaks with duct tape, it’s best to leave it up to a professional.  You can estimate how much you might save and sign up for a visit from one of our energy specialists by taking our online assessment.

The Sponsors of Mass Save® want to ensure the cost of replacing an aging or inefficient heating system with high efficiency heating equipment isn’t too much to bear. Take advantage of rebates up to $2,750 on high performance equipment that will provide plenty of comfort while saving on energy costs. You may also be eligible for a loan up to $25,000 toward qualified heating equipment through the Mass Save HEAT Loan program.  

Get off to an efficient start to fall to ensure comfort and energy savings through winter.

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