If you’re asking this question, it’s likely because your utility bills are arriving each month with bigger numbers on them than you’ve seen before. Of course it costs money to run a furnace … but should it really cost that much?
The answer is, “Probably not.” Hikes in heating costs could be warnings of malfunctions somewhere in the HVAC system or a sign the furnace needs to be retired and a new one installed. But they also might point to simple heating mistakes you can correct on your own. We’ll go through a list of possible reasons you have a furnace that’s giving you the low winter blues from high winter bills.
Lack of maintenance
This is the most common reason for a furnace to lose energy efficiency early in its service life. Maintenance is necessary annually—best done in the fall—to tune-up the system and pinpoint spots that need repairs or adjustments. Cleaning motors, changing filters, tightening electrical connections, lubricating moving parts, and other steps of the maintenance checklist improve a furnace’s operation for the year. Without maintenance, a furnace will wear down rapidly and may need an early replacement.
(If you missed furnace maintenance this fall, it’s not too late: talk to us about our service agreements.)
Expensive utility bills often mean something in the furnace isn’t working right. It might be clogged burners, stress on the blower motor, a failed limit switch, or an electrical malfunction. Let an HVAC pro look at the furnace and diagnose what’s wrong, then find the best solution to the problem.
Clogged air filters
The filter on a furnace cabinet stops the debris entering through the return vents from dirtying up internal components. After 1 to 3 months of operation, the filter will be clogged up so much that it blocks airflow. This forces the blower motor to work harder and raises costs. A clogged air filter causes other problems as well, so stay on top of changing it routinely.
This problem isn’t in the furnace, but the ventilation network connected to it. Ducts can develop leaks over time, and the loss of heated air through these holes can mean up to 30% of the air going to waste. That’s air you already paid to heat. Professional duct repair can remedy this.
Thermostat on the fritz
Something as basic as a wall thermostat that’s off by a few degrees can cause a furnace to waste money. If the thermostat has the furnace turn on earlier and run longer because it senses indoor temperatures are cooler than they are, you’ll see the effects on your utility bills.
You may have a furnace that’s past its usefulness. On average, a furnace can last around 15 years, and excellent care can push it along farther. If you have a furnace that’s older than 15 years and it starts to cost too much to run, it’s probably time to replace it.
No matter if you need a new furnace or a furnace repair in Staten Island, NY, only call on experts to do the job. We have more than 70 years of experience helping local homeowners keep their furnaces running and their costs down.
Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning: Serving Staten Island’s Heating and A/C needs since 1955.