Forced-air heating systems are extremely effective at heating your home fast. Turn them on, and the heat starts pumping immediately. Unfortunately, forced-air heating systems often have problems that make them less efficient than other systems, but there are things you can do to correct these problems.
Closed Air Vents
It may seem like a good idea to close an air vent to prevent heat from reaching a room you aren’t using, but that is actually counterproductive. True, the vent can’t blow hot air into the room, but hot air will still enter that room, and instead of coming from where it’s supposed to (the vent), it will come from the rest of your living space. So, if you’re comfy and cozy in your warm living room, you may suddenly notice a draft as that cold room pulls hot air from your living room and replaces it with cold air. Unless you invest in a zoned system, it’s best to heat your entire home.
The blower is designed to blow the hot air through the ducts and into your living space. However, the blower speed may not be set correctly, so you should routinely inspect the flow of warm air. If the system is too loud when it blows air, the blower may be moving too quickly. If the air isn’t flowing fast enough, the blower is blowing too slowly. Change the speed to get the desired results.
Holes in Ductwork
Ducts are notorious for leaking air. In fact, about 20 to 30 percent of the air in your ducts may be leaking through holes and gaps, which means you have to use more energy to properly heat your home. You can fix this problem by purchasing mastic sealant or metal tape and using it to seal any gaps or holes you find. For exposed and easy-to-access ducts, this is easy, but if you want to check all your ducts, you may have to contact a professional.
Heat Loss in Ductwork
Ducts can also lose heat as hot air travels through ducts in non-heated areas of your home, such as the attic, crawlspace, and basement. You can correct this problem by adding insulation around ducts in these locations. This will keep air warm so you won’t have to use more energy to increase the heat a few more degrees.
One last problem you may discover with your forced-air system is dirty ductwork. Dirty ducts cause your system to work harder to force the air through the ducts and into the living space. This puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your system, which makes it use more energy or break down faster. You can use your vacuum cleaner and hose attachment to clean duct work right inside vents, but for a complete cleaning, hire a professional to get your ductwork cleaned.
Forced-air heating systems can develop many problems that make them less efficient, especially in the ducts. If you are tired of wasting energy each time you heat your home, follow these five tips. Get started by making sure all your vents are open.