The Top 6 Home Heating Mistakes People Make

clean and dirty furnace air filters

Even if you replaced or retrofitted your home’s heating system recently, you still might be shocked by the steep cost of your winter energy bills. Where did these high bills come from? After all, shouldn’t a new or retrofitted system be more efficient and save you money?

Seemingly insignificant things can negatively impact your heater’s performance. Make sure to avoid these six mistakes below to prevent high heating costs.

Mistake #1: Cranking up the Thermostat

When you come inside from freezing outdoor temperatures, you’re ready to get warm in a hurry. Some people will turn up their thermostat extremely high so that their heater will warm up their home “more quickly.”

There are a couple of problems with this practice. First, it doesn’t matter whether you set your thermostat a few degrees or a few dozen degrees warmer: your furnace can only operate at its max capacity and no faster. Second, if you forget to lower your thermostat back to your desired temperature, your furnace will run longer than you need it to, expending energy needlessly.

Mistake #2: Closing Air Vents

To control the temperature in different areas of their home, some people will try closing the vents in specific rooms. The idea is that this will redirect air to places that they want to be heated. Unfortunately, this hurts their HVAC equipment’s ability to operate efficiently.

Your system is designed to take in the same volume of air as the amount it blows out. Closing vents disrupts that balance and increases pressure in your air ducts. If the pressure gets forceful enough, it can create leaks in the ductwork or worsen leaks that are already there. This, combined with blocked air vents, makes your HVAC system work harder and harder to distribute air properly.

Mistake #3: Neglecting the Air Filter

Your furnace’s air filter helps keep dust and other particles from entering your heating system’s components. However, if this filter becomes so clogged with dust that air has a hard time passing through it, you can end up with high heating bills and equipment that breaks down from overheating.

Your heater needs an adequate amount of air flowing through it to operate efficiently. Otherwise, it will have to work longer and harder to distribute warm air through your home. Set up reminders on your phone to check on your filter regularly, and always keep a replacement on hand.

Mistake #4: Shutting the Heater Completely Off

To save money, you might be tempted to shut your heating system off while you’re at work or away on a winter vacation. This will allow your home to get extremely cold, and when you do return, your heater will have to run for a long time to overcome that massive temperature drop. It’s more cost-effective to set your thermostat to a relatively low temperature so that your heater comes on every so often.

Mistake #5: Keeping Window Coverings Open at Night

Closing your curtains and blinds can help your home retain heat once the sun goes down. This is especially true of energy-efficient window treatments, such as insulated cellular shades, thermal curtains, window quilts, and Roman shades. Just don’t forget to re-open windows that get sun during the day--that’s a smart way to let some free heat into your home.

Mistake #6: Skipping Routine Maintenance

Heaters can accumulate a lot of dust and dirt, especially if you don’t change the air filter regularly. Dust and dirt buildup can negatively affect your heater in several ways:

  • In furnaces with intermittent or conventional pilot lights, it can clog the fuel nozzle and prevent ignition.

  • In furnaces with hot surface ignition, it can coat the ignition and keep it from getting hot enough to light the burners.

  • It can build up on your burners, which can inhibit your furnace’s ability to heat your home as quickly as it once did. Dirt-clogged burners can also cause gas to gather in the heat exchanger, which may create a small explosion when finally ignited.

  • It can disrupt the fan motor and force it to work harder than necessary.

  • Enough dirt can even cause your heat exchanger to crack.

Ensuring that your heater gets preventative maintenance is the best way to keep the equipment running in top condition.

Call Carter Comfort Systems today at (208) 739-4181 to schedule reliable heating service in Caldwell or Boise!