The coldest months of the year are fast approaching, so there’s no better time to learn the best ways to keep your heating costs low. However, some “tips” you may find online can actually do you more harm than good.
Below are three of the most common heating and energy-saving myths we debunk constantly on our service calls, so take note if you want to avoid big utility bills this winter!
Myth 1: Closing your air vents saves you money.
It seems like sound logic: if you close an air vent in an unoccupied room, the air that would go to that room will go to a different room, right? Not exactly.
When you close an air vent at the wall, your system will still blow air down that duct anyway. This will result in a buildup of air pressure in your ductwork that can create leaks. A blocked air vent also throws your HVAC system “off balance” because the system is now drawing in more air from your home than it’s blowing out. Both of these issues can make your system less efficient, which means it will cost you more money to use it.
Bottom line: keep your air vents open. If you’d like to save money controlling the temperature in individual areas of your home, speak with our experts about a zoning system.
Myth 2: Routine maintenance is a waste of money.
If you ask any HVAC professional what the number one cause of premature breakdowns and failing equipment is, you’ll get the same answer: lack of routine maintenance. Over time, heating systems gather layers of dust and grime, lose lubrication, and acquire wear and tear. These minor issues lead to bigger problems, including:
- Ignition failure
- Lower efficiency
- Reduced heating power
- More pollution produced during combustion
- Excess condensation inside the furnace (which can lead to rust)
One preventative maintenance appointment a year helps you avoid these potentially pricey issues. Not only does the maintenance help your heating system run more efficiently, but it can help the equipment last longer.
Myth 3: Heaters don’t need maintenance or inspections to work safely.
As mentioned above, maintenance helps you avoid mechanical problems, but it can also help prevent safety hazards, especially in gas- or oil-burning furnaces. When a furnace burns fuel (such as oil or gas) to make heat, it also produces harmful combustion products that are toxic to breathe.
Your furnace’s combustion chamber and heat exchanger keep those combustion products (like carbon monoxide) out of your indoor air so that you don’t breathe them in. However, condensation can lead to a rusty, brittle heat exchanger that eventually cracks as it expands and shrinks. Once a crack forms, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances can enter your breathing air.
During preventative maintenance, a technician will inspect the heat exchanger for signs of rust, and they will also take care of combustion issues that can lead to rust-causing condensation. Additionally, the technician will check the heating equipment for flammable gas leaks. Even though you can often smell a gas leak, they can start out so small that you would not be able to detect them without professional equipment.