Relying on an energy-saving myth may cost you money and comfort this winter. All too often, home energy conservation decisions are based on outdated, debunked folklore that was once accepted as common knowledge. New technology proves that some longstanding beliefs about energy conservation are actually closer to fables than actual scientific fact. See if you recognize a familiar energy-saving myth from the list of five below.
- Keep the furnace thermostat at normal comfort setting all the time, even while the home is unoccupied. People used to believe more energy was wasted warming up a cold house than by leaving the furnace at a normal setting 24/7. Turns out, it’s not true. Bumping the thermostat down 8 to 10 degrees while the home’s unoccupied for several hours saves more money than keeping the setting at its usual temperature.
- A wood-burning fireplace saves money and heats efficiently. Are you gathering and chopping your own firewood? If not, purchasing commercial firewood is a costly way to buy BTUs of heat. Also, most heat produced by a fireplace goes straight up the chimney.
- The higher you set the thermostat, the faster the home warms up. Actually, the furnace generates consistent heat whether the thermostat is set at the typical temperature—or cranked all the way up. Be patient. Higher thermostat settings lead to energy waste and a too-hot house.
- To better distribute heat, close heating vents in unused rooms. A forced-air furnace and duct system is designed to convey a balanced amount of heated airflow into and out of every room. Closing heating vents in some rooms throws the system out of balance and may make heating throughout the house inconsistent. It also tends to increase air leakage from ductwork.
- High-efficiency windows reduce heat loss and save money. That much is true, however, the savings may take many years to compensate for the cost of the windows. For more immediate payoff, inexpensive caulking and weatherstripping is a more cost-efficient and effective method of weatherizing doors and windows.
Relying on an energy-saving myth to stay comfortable this winter? Call the professionals Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
When your furnace unexpectedly goes out, try these furnace troubleshooting tips before reaching for the phone. You may be able to restore the system yourself, eliminating the discomfort that an increasingly chilly home causes.
- The thermostat. Verify that the thermostat is set to heat and the temperature setting is above the air temperature by a few degrees. If in doubt, set the thermostat four degrees higher than the room’s air. Replace the batteries if it’s not hard-wired.
- No power. All gas furnaces have a switch located in the front of the blower compartment. Reset it by pushing it or moving it to its “on” position. If it doesn’t start soon, check the circuit breaker. If the breaker tripped, reset it. If the circuit breaker trips soon after resetting it, call your HVAC contractor for professional help.
- Dirty air filter. Almost all gas furnaces have safety switches inside them that turn the furnace off when there isn’t enough air flowing through them. When furnace troubleshooting, look at the air filter. If it’s covered with dust, it won’t allow enough air into the blower compartment and if it continues to run, the components would build too much heat, creating a safety hazard. During the winter when the furnace runs routinely, it’s a good idea to check the air filter monthly and change it when it’s dirty.
- Blocked flue. If the flue vent is blocked, the furnace will automatically shut off. If you can’t access it easily, call your HVAC contractor.
- Ignition problems. Diagnosing ignition problems is fairly easy with a furnace that uses a standing pilot light. If the pilot goes out periodically, clean the thermocouple and the pilot. If the pilot still goes out, the thermocouple may need replacing. If your furnace has electronic ignition, it uses a furnace ignitor. This part uses a filament that creates a spark to ignite the fuel. They can and do wear out and should be replaced by an HVAC professional.
For more tips about furnace troubleshooting, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, serving homeowners in the greater Cincinnati area since 1910.
If your cooling system isn’t doing its job, a little air conditioner troubleshooting can keep you from suffering through the greater Cincinnati area’s summer heat and save your a call to your technician.
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The middle of a harsh Ohio winter is no time for your furnace to blow cold. You want to curl up in a cozy house after you deal with harsh weather conditions, so it’s time to take a look at the reasons the furnace may be blowing cold. Some issues with the heat are easy to fix, but others require a qualified professional to get you away from the space heater and back to a house that’s warm all over. (more…)