Why you’re high-efficiency furnace isn’t saving you money

You feel cheated. You paid extra money—good money—for a high efficiency furnace. You were told it could pay for itself over time through lower heating bills.

But they seem just as high—if not higher.

What the heck is going on?

It’s hard to say without inspecting your system, but common problems include:

  • Leaky air ducts
  • Over-sized furnace
  • Dirty furnace filter

Let’s explain these one at a time.

Leaky air ducts

Leaky duct work is one of the biggest energy wasters in your home. According to ENERGY STAR, the average home leaks about 20% to 30% of the air in the duct work.

So if your duct work leaks about 20% of its air (which is huge), a 90% (high-efficiency) furnace is really running at about 70% efficiency.  And if you close your air vents in unused rooms, duct leakage gets even worse.

Do you have rooms that are hard to heat? Do you have air vents with weak airflow?

If so, you probably have air duct leaks that need sealing by a professional.

Over-sized furnace

“Over-sized” just means the furnace is too big for your home.

When a furnace is too big, it heats your home too quickly and turns off after only 5 to 10 minutes of run time. This constant turning on and off is a big energy gobbler, increasing your energy bills as a result.

Your furnace needs a longer running time (20 to 30 minutes) to work efficiently.

If the contractor who installed the furnace used a “rule of thumb” (that is, sized the furnace based only on the home’s sq ft) your furnace may be over-sized.

Dirty furnace filter

A dirty furnace filter restricts airflow to the furnace, forcing it to work harder to pump hot air into your home.

This problem is compounded if your high efficiency furnace has a variable speed blower. This blower will ramp up as high as it can to overcome the dirty air filter (which is essentially acting as an airflow barrier now), using more and more electricity.

Check your furnace filter pronto and change it if it’s dirty.

Want a professional to take a look at your under-performing furnace? Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area. For more information, contact us online.