How efficient is your system? Could it provide more and consume less? It may very well do more if it is not in its prime condition. Have you had the system verified by a qualified technician?
What need to be done must be done well!
A central air heating system needs annual maintenance by a licensed and qualified technician.
Having your combustion system (oil, natural gas or propane, or electric) verified and adjusted in 20 minutes at a cost of $39.95 is anything but a good deal. A qualified technician will usually spend at least one hour going over your system.
Maintenance and adjustments
The entire combustion chamber of your furnace (and its ductwork) need to be carefully scrubber in order to remove soot and dirt. Even in minute quantities, these pollutants will considerable diminish the thermal exchange and the efficiency of your heating system will be greatly diminished.
Is yours an oil burning system? The security controls also need to be checked (overheating limit control and flame monitoring device), replace the oil filter and quite often the nozzle, regulate the burner (adjust the flame), inspect all connections for leaks and do a smoke test in order to verify the quality of combustion. A gas burning system requires a similar inspection routine. It might also include replacing the thermocouple and/or the pilot control.
If a more precise evaluation is deemed necessary, the technician will take a sample of the combustion gases, verify the draft pressure and determine the temperature and the carbon dioxide concentration and oxygen in the evacuated gases.
In a hot water system, the circulation pump (lubrication) and the expansion reservoir must also be inspected by a specialist. For hot air systems (blown air), the fan must be thoroughly cleaned, its motor lubricated and the tension of the fan belt needs to be adjusted.
In both cases, you can also contribute to an increased performance of your heating system :
- Hot water system : purge and clean the radiators; lubricated the circulation pump motor; insulate any water pipe passing through rough a non-heated space; install heat-reflecting panels on the walls behind the radiators and allow good air circulation around them.
- Hot air system : Clean or replace air filters on a regular basis; make sure that all joints are sealed so that heat may reach the targeted areas.
Small measures can prove to be very profitable!
Heatpumps and electric units
Unless you are a clean-freak, heatpumps will not require annual inspections during their first years of operation. Maintaining clean coils and filters does not require a technician.
After a five year period, as suggested by the magazine Protégez-Vous in its June-July 2009 edition, inspecting and lubricating the fan and its motor and chocking the coolant pressure and temperature will allow an longer and better performance overall.
Heating with electric units, be they baseboards or convectors, require minimal maintenance. It consists in passing a vacuum brush over the elements or the convection fan and the fan blades to remove any accumulated dust. Be sure to turn off the power supply beforehand.
Key component : the thermostat
Remember most of all that for any heating system, energy savings will begins with the use of electronic thermostats (programmable or not) and their increased precision that a allows for lowering heating costs by 10 %. Hydro-Quebec is maintaining its postal rebate on the purchase and installation of electronic thermostats for electric baseboard heaters.