Biggest Home Heating & Cooling Energy Hogs
Furnace Fan Facts & Lowering Your Summer Electric Bill
What uses the most energy in your home?
How can you cut down on energy costs without sacrificing comfort?
When it comes to your home, it can feel like a battle between cost and comfort. How high or low to set your thermostat is one example of where we weigh the expense to feel comfortable. But beyond the thermostat, there are other factors that lead to the costs you pay each month.
At DALCO Heating & Air Conditioning, we regularly help our customers understand the issues of energy use in their home and its effect on their monthly bills. Knowing the ways your home’s system and appliances affect your energy use can help you make choices to be more efficient and to save money on your home’s utility bill.
It is smart to start with your thermostat. After all, your home’s heating and air system uses nearly half of your home’s total energy. But there are different types of energy and some cost more than others. Natural gas is a cheaper source of energy than electric. For that reason, many people have opted to go with a gas furnace to heat their home (this is especially true when looking at the history of home heating trends here in Colorado).
But even if you have a gas furnace, it is using electricity.
There are several different components to a complete home HVAC system, but the one that typically uses the most energy is your furnace fan. Even if you have a gas furnace, the fan is using electricity. And not just that, this blower is needed for your air conditioner to keep you cool every summer. That’s what makes a furnace fan one of your home’s biggest energy hogs.
The Furnace Fan Energy Hog
The average homeowner uses about 12,000 kilowatt-hours each year. Many furnace fans, all by themselves, consume nearly 10% of your home’s entire energy use. That’s twice as much electricity than what your refrigerator uses.
The furnace fan is one of the largest users of electricity in a typical home.
This is especially true if you have an older, less efficient furnace. Because of this, in 2014, the Department of Energy (DOE) enacted the first ever efficiency standards for furnace fans. They took affect just back in 2019. The new furnace fan regulation is expected to reduce the electric consumption of these fans by 50%.
Should I Set My Fan to Auto or On?
At your thermostat, you can control how often your furnace fan will be running and using electricity.
Setting it to AUTO means the furnace fan will only come on when your home’s HVAC system is actively heating or cooling air.
Setting the fan to ON means it is always on. Even if your furnace or A/C is not running, that fan will continuously run.
So, which one is best? There are pros and cons with choosing either setting.
Fan set to AUTO
If your goal is to reduce energy use and electric costs, you will want to turn it to AUTO. This will reduce how often it is running. This will also benefit you in other ways including helping with humidity levels in the summer. This will also put less of a strain on your air filters, meaning you won’t have to change it as much as having the fan always on.
Fan set to ON
Having your furnace fan always running may provide more comfort. It will help create a more even distribution of hot or cool air, potentially cutting down on cold spots in the winter. Being always on also reduces the strain on the fan. Not having it routinely be starting and stopping may help your furnace fan last longer. However, in the winter you may feel cold air coming through the vents if the fan is blowing without the furnace working to heat the air. If you don’t have a very efficient furnace, you will notice higher utility bills every month.
Every heating and cooling system is different. Some are not designed to have the fan constantly running. Some are made for the fan to run non-stop. If you have an air filtration system or air purifier unit working with the furnace fan, you may want to have the blower constantly running in order to best improve your home’s indoor air quality.
Some of the newer models of furnaces are so energy efficient, you will be able to run your fan all the time at a much lower cost and energy use. This is what we talk about when we use the term variable speed. Different furnaces have different variable speeds of operation and play a major role to how consistent and efficient your heating will be. Call DALCO Heating & Air Conditioning at 303-979-7541 to learn how a new, high-efficient furnace can save you money in the long run.
Ways to Reduce Energy Usage
Reducing how much you use your furnace and air conditioner will reduce your energy bill. That may sound like a simple thing to do, but it is not easy. This will leave you colder in the winter or hotter in the summer. Your home will not be the place of comfort it should be.
You can help your heating and air system work better and smarter by doing some of these things:
- Use ceiling fans
- Close curtains on sunny summer days
- Open curtains on sunny winter days
- Make sure vents are open and not blocked by furniture
These energy tips can help, but they are not likely to make a dramatic impact on your bill. There are several other ways to conserve energy that will really pay off – not just in reducing the monthly bill but also by helping your furnace and air conditioner run better and have a longer life.
Save energy with heating and cooling maintenance.
Simply taking care of your home system on a regular basis will allow it to work at peak energy efficiency. It will also help prevent problems and breakdowns, saving you money on repairs or needing to replace a system that stopped working years before its time.
Be sure you change your furnace filter regularly. You might even want to try increasing how frequently you change it. If you notice the filter is dirty and dark, that’s a sign you are not changing it enough. A clean filter allows for the best airflow of conditioned air through your vents. A clogged filter may mean your system has to work harder (and use more energy) to get your home to your desired temperature.
Get regular HVAC maintenance. There are many components of your furnace and air conditioner that can get dirty or worn. Catching issues and fixing them before they become a problem will keep your system running at peak efficiency. DALCO Heating & Air Conditioning provides an annual Peace of Mind Home Service Package to handle all the home maintenance of your HVAC systems throughout the year.
For about what you pay for Netflix each month, you could have complete peace of mind putting all the worries and work of your home comfort system in our hands. Call us for more details at 303-979-7541.
Increased Worries About Energy Use?
Issues with energy use have only gotten worse with the COVID 19 pandemic. Being forced to work out of your home or having your kid home every day doing school online has probably wreaked havoc to your monthly expenses. All that extra energy use (and subsequent cost) adds up.
The environmental impact of comfort systems is something our team at DALCO Heating & Air Conditioning knows all about. In the HVAC industry, we see how home comfort systems have gotten upgraded and improved over the years. Manufacturers are regularly creating newer and better systems that require less energy to affectively keep your home comfortable.
That is one of the biggest reasons we exclusively install Trane heating and cooling systems. While our technicians can repair or service any time of furnace or air conditioner, when it comes to installing a new energy-efficient system, we only choose the best. From extensive quality testing to energy efficiency standards, time and time again Trane comes out on top. You can even read about how Trane provides some of the best furnaces for 2021.
We love installing new units and seeing our customers enjoy smaller monthly energy bills. Call us today for a free quote on a new system at 303-979-7541.