Thursday, January 13, 2011

Burning up that Energy Bill

Sean here with some tips on how to beat the cold,
or at least not having to pay (as much) to be warm.

It’s no joke that it is freezing outside! Today and all week around here will be into the -25*c (-10*f) mark. Our furnace will be putting in some heavy OT hours! Granted it is original and over 20 years old, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be getting some help!

So what are a couple simple things that can be done to combat the cold? – take a look.

1. Regularly replace that filter! You can see below the difference between one of our used ones and a new one. Ours was really dirty because of all the renovations we are doing that kick up the dust. You do want to make sure you replace it the same way you take it out. Usually there is a little arrow indicating the air flow direction.


Photobucket GROSS!

2. You can check for solid connections to the vents. From the top it looks good right? And it feels like the hot air is coming out, but…………………….


As you can see from underneath it probably could be a little more snug! Sometimes it’s not only at the vent connections where it’s loose, but even at elbow or other galvanized tube connections. We are lucky, (well kind of, I would rather have a finished basement - which is on the list) for us our basement is unfinished so inspecting these connections is pretty easy. If you have a hanging ceiling, you would have to do a little more work and pop up some tiles. If you had a dry walled ceiling you might face some bigger challenges. Inspecting underneath may not be available, so you could take off the vent cover and inspect from the top.


Either way, once you have tightened all the connections you should be running smoother!

Also you could check for poor design/build quality. (Sometimes I wonder who passes these things on final inspection)


AGGGHHHH!!! Clearly not the same size tube, talk about being in-efficient

Take that cold!!!


Now if only we could do something for the snow, which is falling in record numbers here. I was thinking maybe a heated driveway???? I would even agree to paint it white and add some distressing….JK

Depending on your certain furnace make & model you can do other maintenance like replacing belts or topping up lubricants, but that sometimes requires shutting the whole thing off.
Another good point would be to completely replace the old furnace(like ours – which we will eventually be doing) with a new high efficiency one. They cost a-lot up front and can be a pain to have to deal with the install but they do pay for themselves in the long run.

Now you can rest easier and warmer knowing you will not be wasting money on energy.
Take Care-

Sean &


Tammi said...

Gosh we are in the middle of a scorching summer here in Western Australia and suffering through 35-40 degree days.

Pine Tree Home said...

That tube image is crazy. And how it taped together. Good eye. I know some of us don't even bother to check these types of things. Brrr. It's cold out.

Sommer said...

Great tips. We are in a rental for a few more months and I can't wait to leave since the windows need to be replaced. You can feel drafts coming off of them, ugh! We also try to use the fireplace as often as possible to heat the main section of the house rather than the furnace. Oh and my husband is insistant on putting a heated driveway when we buy our next house!

Elizabeth (Blue Clear Sky) said...

Great tips, especially changing the filter more often when there is extra dust in the house.

InteriorGroupie said...

My husband wanted me to post something on our "before and after boiler" project...I laughed and told him the blogger audience wasn't into HVAC...but maybe I was wrong! Thanks Sean, you at least have pleased my husband!

Becky said...

I am loving the "Sean" post. Thanks for the great tips.

Anonymous said...

As an HVAC engineer this makes my head hurt! Are you going to fix that straight section with a hard connection? It's really not that hard just buy a short piece the size of the bigger diameter and a good hand crimper. Crimp both sides with lots of extra crimps on the soon to be smaller side. Fit together, add some self tapping ductwork screws, and some nice foil tape (not duct tape).

We're saving a ton of money ever since we replaced our old oil burning furnace with a geothermal heat pump! We needed a whole new system and the geo will make up the difference from a traditional split system in only 4 years with a complete return on investment in only 8 years. With your colder temps you'd probably need more back-up heat though. People in town can still do they typically drill the bores under their driveway and have it repaved.

Chelsi said...

Informative and entertaining - love good tips that are fun to read!

"I would even agree to paint it white and add some distressing…" - cracked me up!

L said...

Thanks for the tips!
I used to live next door to someone with a heated driveway. Everytime I was out shoveling or slipping on ice I looked over enviously at how the snow just magically disappeared from theirs. Someday....and I'd even be willing to paint it white and distress it!

Mrs. Plank said...

I live in Oklahoma and while it does ice and snow here, its for maybe 3 or 4 weeks a year total. My company just put in a heated driveway for an elderly gentleman. The price tage was INSANE!!! I think he may have the only one in our city. :) You would probably get more use out of it

Krystal Wight Armstrong said...

Seeing the hidden stuff behind the walls & ceiling, & being in Canada, you make me think of one of our favorite shows, 'Holmes on Homes.' Apparently he's now got a private inspection business too, you should give him a call to find all those pesky hidden mistakes! ;) Pretty impressive on your own though, obviously. Thanks for the tips! All I've done so far is get new weather stripping for doors!

Lee said...

Holly, would you mind doing a post on the house plants you are finding??

Little Lovables said...

wonderful tips, we are so unhandy, that we use a nice space heater and it helps!

you need a masculine signature now to put with holly's!

NotAppealing said...

Lol! Loved the painting and distressing comment.

Tamara said...

Great post! Being in the HVAC industry (myself and my hubby) I can totally appreciate the message this post is sending - you would not believe how many people will respond with "filter, what filter" when you tell them they should be changing their filter on a regular basis!

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