Winter is upon us, which means many homeowners are dealing with higher energy costs. One way to ease this strain on your wallet is to make sure your heating system operates at peak efficiency.
But how can you tell if your equipment is performing well? You’re always welcome to call in the pros at Bears Home Solutions to check your system’s efficiency for you. However, there are a few simple ways you can monitor your heating system’s efficiency on your own.
Let’s dive into how you can check your equipment’s performance and how to optimize it, if needed, to keep your home cozy this season.
How to Test Heating Efficiency
Check the AFUE Rating
One way to tell how efficient your heating system is the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. This score measures how much fuel your system burns compared to how much heat it produces. For example, if your equipment’s AFUE score is 80%, it means your furnace produces $0.80 worth of heat for every dollar spent on fuel.
Furnace manufacturers are required by the Department of Energy to display an AFUE rating on every unit. Locate the rating on your equipment. A score between 90% – 98.5% means your system is highly efficient. Your rating should ideally be at least 80%. If not, it could be time to consider installing a programmable thermostat, retrofitting your ducts, or even replacing your unit.
Monitor Your Energy Bills
Another way to tell if your system is efficient is to closely watch your energy bills each month. A small increase in heat usage is normal. However, a sharp spike in your energy bills may be a sign of a more serious issue. High thermostat settings, improper unit size for your home, and leaky ducts all contribute to higher energy bills. Pay attention to your usage each month, so you can fix any minor issues before they become major problems.
Consider Equipment Age
Was your home’s heating system installed before the turn of the century? If so, your equipment’s age could be to blame for decreased efficiency. Nothing lasts forever, especially heating systems that work extra hard to keep us warm in the upper Midwest. Annual maintenance certainly helps extend the lifespan of your equipment. However, the average lifespan of a home heating system is 15-20 years, and eventually it needs to be replaced.
Installing a new heating system is a significant investment for any family. Fortunately, modern heating systems have an AFUE score of at least 90. This allows you to save money on energy bills over time.
Start with a Tune-Up
Think your heating system may be inefficient? Schedule an inspection with our service team at Bears Home Solutions before making any big decisions. We’ll thoroughly inspect your unit, check your ductwork, change your air filters, and fix any minor issues. If we believe it’s time to upgrade your system, we’ll discuss your financing options with you. Contact us today to book an appointment!