Ten Ways to Improve Heating System Performance

Key Points

  • Optimizing heating system performance can save on energy costs and improve building comfort.
  • Regular maintenance and efficiency upgrades can keep your system operating at peak efficiency.
  • If your system is 15 years old or older, consider installing a new, ENERGY STAR rated model.

As cold weather approaches, winter heating bills become a concern for home and business owners trying to reduce operating costs. Merely lowering the thermostat might make everyone uncomfortable. The ten steps that follow can help you keep your heating system, operating at peak efficiency all winter long.

Before the start of the heating season, have your system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional to make sure all parts are operating properly. No matter what type of heating system you use—furnace, boiler, or rooftop unit—a checkup will ensure more efficient operation and reduce maintenance costs.

  1. Inspect doors and windows for worn or damaged caulk and weather stripping, and repair or replace when necessary.
  2. Inspect heating ducts and seal any leaks; direct leaks in duct systems can result in large heat losses.
  3. Check air filters throughout; dirty or clogged air filters reduce air flow, increasing the energy required for heating. Replace on a regular basis throughout the heating season.
  4. Insulation can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your heating system. Make sure your insulation levels meet or exceed those recommended in ASHRAE  Energy Standards.
  5. If you use a boiler, consider installing energy-efficient burners to improve fuel combustion, or a boiler economizer to capture waste heat and use it to preheat the boiler feed water.
  6. Make sure all motorized dampers are operating properly, and that all outside air dampers remain closed during unoccupied hours.
  7. For commercial, use infrared heaters or air curtains to keep cold, outside air from entering the building in loading areas or where doors are frequently opened and closed.
  8. Hot air rises. In areas with high ceilings, install ceiling fans to circulate warm air down where it is needed.
  9. Make sure air vents or radiators are free of obstructions so that conditioned air can flow freely.
  10. Make sure air vents or radiators are free of obstructions so that conditioned air can flow freely.

If your heating system is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified model for energy-efficient performance. ENERGY STAR rated heating systems use up to 10% less energy than standard models.

When investing in a new heating system, make sure it is sized correctly to fit your current needs. All too often, systems are installed based solely on the size of the old unit. An oversized system can waste energy and reduce or eliminate any savings gained by upgrading to a more efficient model.
Through the combination of energy-saving practices and efficiency retrofits, you can realize significant savings on heating costs, while maintaining a comfortable and productive environment.

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