Tips for Maintaining Your Heater

heater thermostatWith the warm weather we enjoy in Florida, homeowners sometimes don't need to use the heater for much of the year. When you tend to only run the furnace during the winter, you'll want to take steps to ensure it's safe for you and your family. Annual maintenance calls are your best bet for keeping the furnace in top-notch condition.

Temperatures to Set it On

Everybody has their own personal preference and countless families become involved in thermostat wars, with one person trying to increase the heat while another member of the family sneaks back to shift the temperature downward.

Family harmony requires some level of compromise, with colder people wearing slippers or sweaters and warmer people dressing down accordingly. To reduce disagreements about temperature, you can program your smart thermostat to reach the optimal temperature automatically.

Homeowners can save energy while remaining comfortable by setting the thermostat to 68 degrees F. when everyone is awake in the house, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE notes that dialing the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees when everyone is asleep or out of the house for a period of 8 hours will save you from 5% to 15% on your bill.

Inspections and Upgrades: How to Know When They Are Necessary

If the heat pump no longer seems to be keeping the house as warm as it used to, the system may not be running as efficiently as it should be. Unusual sounds coming from the equipment may indicate a problem that a professional should handle. A sharp uptick in your heating bill that cannot be explained by price increases from the utility may simply be the result of the HVAC system no longer working at peak condition.

As a rule of thumb, you should have your system inspected once a year before the cold season. This way, a technician can check out the heater, clean and make any adjustments or repairs. If the system is very old, your technician can advise you about making an upgrade, for greater efficiency and even lower heating bills.

Why it May Smell

Did you detect an unusual odor coming from the furnace? This is a common occurrence and it happens when homeowners do not use the furnace very much.

If the odor goes away after you've run the system for a while, you'll know it was caused by low usage. However, if the smell persists, you should make an appointment for inspection and maintenance.

Ways to Save

It's clear that one of the most important things you can do to save money when running your home's furnace is to arrange for knowledgeable HVAC technicians to inspect the system every year. However, there are other things you can do to lower costs and save even more.

For example, dress in layers at home so you can lower the thermostat. Slippers and woven hats keep you cozy from head to toe and are a time-honored way of lowering the amount of money you spend on heating during the fall and winter.

If you protect your family's health with a filter in the HVAC system, make sure to clean the filter according to the manufacturer's recommended schedule (if using a permanent filter) or discard and replace disposable filters on a regular basis.

A clogged, dirty filter forces your heater to work much harder than it needs to. This can strain the system and cause parts to fail prematurely, which will result in a much bigger hit to your bank account to handle the repairs or replacement. It almost goes without saying that the more efficiently your furnace works, the lower your heating fuel bill will be.

What NOT to Do

Don't neglect your heat pump. Homeowners that take their furnace for granted will typically wind up with bigger bills in the long run, because technicians will have to make repairs. Just as you bring your vehicle to the mechanic for regular oil and filter changes to keep it running properly, you should also give your home's heater the attention it deserves.

Don't leave windows open or doors ajar when running the heater. If you haven't sealed up cracks around doors and windows, you should take care of this project immediately, because otherwise the air you pay to heat will wind up leaking outside, driving up utility bills and straining the system with overwork.

Don't fuss around with the thermostat, constantly changing it. Settle on a temperature range that you and your family can remain comfortable with and let the thermostat handle the rest. 

The knowledgeable professionals at David Gray Heating & Air have a great deal of experience in installing, inspecting, maintaining and repairing heaters for homeowners in Jacksonville, Florida and surrounding areas. We know that area families are concerned about keeping their heater in proper working order, both to stay cozy and to keep utility bills as low as possible. For details on our furnace maintenance service or to set an appointment, please call the experts at David Gray Heating & Air today.

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