Heating systems are crucial as they enable us to survive in a climate that would be difficult to do so otherwise. For example, they protect people from cold-related illnesses and protect homes from winter-related plumbing issues. In other words, an energy efficient heater can keep everyone in the house comfortable, warm, and safe. For this reason, heating systems tend to run all the time during the winter months. However, if you don’t have the right system, you might have problems with your energy costs and the level of comfort you receive.
The right home heating system should provide these three qualities:
- Quiet operation
The importance of having an energy-efficient heater is that it can cut down energy costs, distribute heat effectively, and reduce maintenance costs.
In this article, we’ll share three ways you can tell if your heater is efficient or not. We’ll also share some tips on how you can improve your system’s efficiency.
How To Tell If Your Heater Is Energy-Efficient
Before purchasing a heating system, it’s crucial to determine the size or square footage of the home first. This information will help you pick an energy-efficient heater that will help meet your home’s heating needs. However, if there’s already a heating system in place, the three factors below can determine whether the system is still energy-efficient or not:
Heating System Age
First is the age of the heating system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), old heating systems can only achieve about 56% to 70% energy efficiency. In contrast, new heating systems can go beyond that, even reaching 98.5% energy efficiency.
Normally, residential heaters have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, especially if it’s properly cared for. However, the efficiency of a heating system will drop because of wear and tear. A heater’s efficiency can drop by up to 5% each year, depending on how well it’s maintained. This means that the older the heating system is, the less efficient it becomes.
So, if your system is 15 years old or more, there’s a good chance that it’s not as efficient as before and may need a heating system replacement. However, if you want to be sure about your system’s efficiency, you can call a certified HVAC contractor to help you.
Another factor to check when determining the efficiency of your heating system is your electric bills. Electric bills tend to fluctuate every month depending on your needs. However, the accumulated cost for the year shouldn’t differ much from the previous year’s energy costs.
If you’ve noticed a significant change in your bill, try to consider any factors that may have caused the change. However, if there’s none and your heating costs have surged, there’s a good chance that your heating system is no longer working efficiently.
When the heater reduces efficiency, it will have to work harder or longer to heat a home of the same size. For this reason, it consumes more energy, leading to an increase in energy costs.
Finally, check the system’s AFUE rating. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, also known as AFUE rating, is the rating assigned to a heater that tells how efficient the system is. It is determined by dividing the quantity of heat output by the quantity of heat input (the amount of fuel consumed).
For example, a heater with a 95% AFUE rating mainly converts 95% of the fuel to heat and wastes only 5%, which usually just goes through the vents. This means that the system is highly efficient, compared to an 80% AFUE-rated heater that wastes around 20% of fuel.
If you need to find the AFUE rating of a heating system, all you need to do is check the label. But if it’s not indicated there or there’s no label, you can check the model of the heater and search for it on the manufacturer’s website to find the AFUE rating.
How To Improve Your Heating System’s Efficiency
An inefficient heating system can bring a series of consequences, such as:
- Keep the family uncomfortable during the cold days
- Increase energy bills
- Break down frequently, making you spend more on maintenance
- Increase your carbon footprint
Fortunately, several things can be done to improve a system’s efficiency. Here are some of them:
- Regularly Replacing HVAC Filters: One of the most important rules when it comes to HVAC maintenance is to change the system’s HVAC filters. Clogged filters are not ideal as this prevents the air from circulating, making the furnace work harder to warm the home.
- Proper Home Insulation: Home insulation is a great idea as it retains the heat inside the home. In other words, no matter how cold it is outside, your home would still have heat in it, making it easier for the heating system to warm the surroundings at the ideal temperature.
- Scheduling Annual Inspections: It’s best to schedule an annual inspection to ensure that the heating system is maintained correctly and remains efficient. With this said, it’s best to ensure that you get a professional HVAC contractor to conduct these inspections. At the same time, they’ll be able to fix any issues in the heating system without any problem.
- Programmable Thermostat: It would also be helpful to get a programmable thermostat. With this feature, the furnace will automatically adjust depending on the home’s heating needs. The best part is that it only runs when needed and when it does, the system will only consume enough fuel to meet your needs.
Why You Should Replace An Outdated Heater
As much as doing the things above can help, there will come a time when regular maintenance won’t just do it anymore. If the heater is already too old, then it would be better to just replace it to enjoy the following benefits:
- Indoor Comfort: As mentioned above, a new heater has a higher efficiency than an outdated heater. Because it’s highly efficient, it can warm the home better and provide better comfort, which is something you can’t get with an outdated and inefficient heating system.
- Avoid Regular Breakdowns: Because of wear and tear, old heaters are expected to break down more quickly. Although repairs can still be done, it’s wiser to just replace the whole system to avoid this problem as it also helps save on repair costs.
- Save on Heating Costs: New heaters are guaranteed to be highly efficient, which means that you get to save on monthly and yearly energy costs.
There are three ways by which you can tell if your heater is still energy-efficient. All you need to do is to check its age, AFUE rating, and your energy bills. And if you find out that your heating system is indeed energy-efficient, don’t go ahead and buy a new one immediately.
Instead, call a professional HVAC contractor to inspect it and repair anything that will help make it more efficient. But if you have a very old system, the contractor will most likely just recommend that you replace it.
Call Lawes Company For All Of Your HVAC Requirements
Lawes Company offers superior heating and cooling services in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. Our team is made up of certified HVAC technicians who can provide you with excellent heating and cooling services, including tune-ups, repairs, installations, and more. Each technician has outstanding knowledge and experience to serve your HVAC system needs correctly.
Lawes Company guarantees to provide the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services ensure to improve your comfort, increase your system’s energy efficiency, and reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs. Need your system repaired or replaced? We’ll recommend the best one for your home and is within your budget. The best part is, all our work is backed with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction.
If you wish to schedule a service appointment, give us a call today! We also offer free, in-home estimates.