5 things you want in an Emergency Heating Repair kit
February 23, 2015
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Cutting your heating costs across the baord.

More than just a heating system

Heating costs aren’t entirely dependent on you heating system. There are a number of steps in the heating process. This provides a number of opportunities for savings, as well as losses, depending on your system and home choices. There are different areas you can focus on that can help you save money in the long run. We’ll cover these areas, how the heating loss occurs, and what you can do to identify and remedy the problem.

Are you using a high efficiency system?

Heating systems like furnaces and HVAC units do not have an unlimited lifespan. In addition to having an efficiency rating that can be as much as 40% less than a newer system, they also lose efficiency every single year. Maintenance can help prevent this loss, but with an average lifespan of 15 years, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time. One of the best options for increasing efficiency and saving on costs is with a high efficiency heating system.


Pros

  • Better efficiency rating typically 90 – 98.5%
  • Combustion process is entirely sealed
  • Contains additional heat exchanger


Cons

  • More expensive initial purchase cost
  • Additional complexities mean more to maintain
  • May require additional retrofitting

If you still have a lot of life left in your system it may not be an economical option. A heating company can help you determine whether or not you’ll save money over the course of your systems lifetime. With high efficiency heaters the extra cost of an installation will be recuperated over the course of the system’s lifetime. With efficiency increases over an older system, you could see savings as high as $350 a year.

How does heat escape your building?

Inspecting a Heating System
What of the primary ways heat escapes a home is through leaks. Though you may initially be suspicious of windows, although this can provide heat loss in the upper areas of the home, one of the biggest culprits is the basement or area where the heating unit itself is stored. These leaks occur in the attic and basement.

When a room isn’t tightly insulated, it gives air the opportunity to escape. This escape can happen through, behind, and around insulation. A retrofitter that specializes in energy savings will likely try to tackle these areas first, outfitting the areas of greatest heat loss with new and better installed insulation. Air buoyancy can also work against effective heating. The stack effect states that the greater the difference in height and thermal temperature, the greater the buoyancy. It’s how chimneys work to pull heat and soot upwards and out of a building. Think if it like water displacement.

The same thing can occur in a building. Equalizing the pressure difference with a well insulated building can greatly reduce the stack effect. This will better help to keep hot and cold air where you want them to be, when you want them to be there. That’s why insulation is typically a focus when trying to save money with heat loss mitigation.

Insulation options for heat loss prevention.

Indoor Insulation

Indoor insulation is an option that homeowners often choose. R-10 insulation can reduce heat loss in a basement by as high as 70 percent. The cost is frequently recouped within 6 years, making it a very cost effective option.

There are some cons though. Indoor insulation is typically more expensive than outdoor insulation. It also may require a fire retardant sprayed on the outside of it in order to meet local regulations. One upside is that it won’t affect the outer beauty of your home. If this is a major consideration, it should be heavily weighted.

Outdoor Insulation

Outdoor insulation provides a number of benefits. Because the insulation typically will not require covering, it makes the entire job a cheaper one. Fire retardants are not required on the outside of the building, which also cuts down on costs. Outdoor options also work just as effectively as indoor option if it is done correctly by a skilled and reputable company.

Outdoor options also keep the interior of the building as an insulative property. Since the insulation is much more effective than a concrete wall, insulating the outside of the wall instead of the inside provides a more effective net gain than the other way around. Outdoor insulation also helps to protect the buildings foundation, adding an extra benefit versus indoor options.

Are your ducts installed correctly?

Obstructed air ducts can seriously hurt the ability of your system to provide adequate heating. There are a large number of problems that can lead to escaping head, reduced air pressure, and an inability of your system to correctly to its job. This can lead to an attempt to increase pressure and heat by turning up the thermostat. Not only does that cause the unit to work particularly hard and stress it when it doesn’t need it, it doesn’t actually fix the problem and leads to major heat loss.

There are a wide range of things you can investigate, and one of the best ways to do it is with a professional duct inspection. Just some of the things you can keep your eyes peeled for include:
Ductwork

  • Dirty Air Filters – Air filters should typically be changed every other month. Inspection is as simple as inspecting the filter for dirt and grime. If it looks dirty, it’s time for a replacement. This can significantly increase air flow.
  • Air Duct Leaks – Inspecting the ducts for loose connection, crimps, collapses, or blocks can help you identify areas that may need replacing or re-connection. The older the system the more often these types of problems may occur, but even brand new systems can fall prey to poor connections.
  • Dirty Blower Fans – When blower fans become dirty, they won’t function as well. If this dirt or dust becomes wet, or manages to work its way into areas that need to be lubricated and spinning like the blade chassis, it can seriously hamper air flow.

Reduce your heating bills and save.

These are just three of the major avenues you can investigate to save on your heating bills. They’re effective alone, but when combined they can create a massive reduction in heating costs over time. Don’t throw your money away. Invest in heat greater heat retention, production, and savings.