Your furnace will eventually break down, but you can prolong that day by making life as easy as possible on your furnace. The longer your furnace runs, the more wear it incurs. If you want to get the most from your furnace, you need to take steps to improve not just the energy efficiency of your furnace, but also of your home

Sealing Air Leaks

Energy efficiency is not just a matter of buying the most efficient furnace you can. One problem with a furnace is the fact that the average home has enough air leaks to equal having a window open all day. Most of these leaks are small, like the gap around a light fixture, but this small gap can allow air to seep right through your insulation. Because insulation is designed to stop heat transfer between solid objects rather than to stop airflow, you need to take care of leaks before you can upgrade your insulation. If you have access to your attic, you can put a plank across your roof joists and check underneath your insulation in any place where wiring or pipes come up through your ceiling. Use silicone caulk to seal the gaps around fixtures and pipes.

Seal Ducts

The pressure running through your ducts is enough to cause the joints and seams in your ducts to fail over time. In fact, leaks in your ducts can reduce your overall system efficiency by up to 40%. If you have exposed ducts, then check for leaks with a lit stick of incense and seal the leaks with duct mastic. On the other hand, if your ducts run behind the drywall in your home, then you will need to hire professionals to check your ducts for you. 

Insulating Ducts

Your ducts should run inside your home's building envelope so that they are protected from outside temperatures, but in some older homes, ducts can run outside of your home's building envelope. This causes a problem in that your ducts will be heated during the summer and cooled during the winter, which means the air flowing from your furnace or AC must first normalize the temperature of the ducts before it can efficiently condition the air in your home. Wrap fiberglass batting or foil-faced insulation around your ducts to protect them from outside air and to increase your efficiency.

If you have a tight budget, a strong environmental conscience, or want to forestall the day that you have to pay for repairs to your furnace, you can take steps to make your furnace's job easier. Chances are your home is energy deficient in some way, and if you are at a loss for where to start looking for issues, you can use the suggestions above and/or schedule an energy audit for more direction. To learn more, speak with a company like Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.