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Heating An Older Home Efficiently

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Older homes can be expensive to heat. There are a number of reasons for this, from leaky windows to old HVAC equipment. In the long run, if you want to reduce your heating costs, it's often wise to replace your old HVAC system, windows, and other worn components. But if that's not in the cards yet this fall, there are some other, less expensive ways you can improve your HVAC efficiency going into the heating season.

Have your furnace tuned up

Most HVAC companies offer something called a standard maintenance service or a tune-up service. Even if your heating equipment is old, it's worth scheduling an appointment to have it maintained. Your HVAC technician can tighten loose bolts and screws, lubricate moving parts, and otherwise make sure the appliance is working as efficiently as possible for its age. While they are in your home, they may also make some recommendations for furnace repairs. These repairs may or may not be worth making, depending on their cost relative to the energy you save. Your HVAC contractor can help you weigh the relative costs and make a decision.

Change your filter more often

It's amazing how big a difference simply changing your furnace filter can make. When a furnace filter gets dirty, it becomes harder for air to flow through it. This forces your furnace to work harder and consume more energy. Changing the filter more often, such as once a month, can help you save energy. This is especially true in an older home where there tends to be more dust that accumulates on the filter quite quickly. 

Older furnaces are often designed to work with filters that have slightly larger pores. So, if you're using an over-restrictive filter, such as a HEPA filter, changing to a slightly less restrictive one can help save energy.

Make sure your vents are open

The vents in older homes are sometimes broken, causing them to close on their own or refuse to stay open. This restricts airflow through the vents and can cause increased energy consumption. Check all of your vents to make sure they are staying open. If any of them are broken, replace the vent covers. You can buy inexpensive ones in a range of sizes at most home improvement stores. 

Older homes can be expensive to heat, but there are definitely ways to save. Keep the above tips in mind this winter, and talk with your HVAC contractor to learn more about furnace maintenance.