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Ways to Improve Your Furnace Efficiency in Big Bear

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


In using your furnace, a challenge you’ll likely face is the problem of high energy bills. There is also the issue of maintenance as a furnace can only last so long. In this article, we explain ways to improve your furnace efficiency such that you save energy and extend its service life. We also outline a few things you might want to note when getting a new furnace.

Read on to learn more.

Ways to Improve Your Furnace Efficiency in Big Bear

An inefficient furnace provides less value in terms of heat. With extended periods of use, the appliance decreases in capacity. This, however, does not imply a drop in energy consumption. Depending on the issue, you may even record higher consumption levels.

Thus, in this section, we provide methods you can use to improve your furnace efficiency.

Properly Seal Your Ductwork

You can determine your furnace’s efficiency by how well it moves heat from one point in your house to another. For your equipment to function, it relies on a network of ducts to transport warm air. These ducts, when loose, can cost you as much as 20% in valuable air.

Thus, as part of the ways to improve your furnace efficiency, examine the ducts for possible leaks. Closing up areas such as seams and screw-heads can save you a lot in terms of energy. To do this, use duct mastic or furnace tape to seal any gaps you observe tightly. For areas you cannot reach, you may want to engage an HVAC professional to help you out.

Schedule Maintenance Checks

This is an important way to prevent problems before they occur. By engaging HVAC experts at Big Bear, you can greatly increase the lifespan of your heating system and maximize its returns. A professional will do a full check of furnace parts for any issues. Where necessary, they will also do some preventative maintenance.

Maintenance checks can also be essential to securing your warranty. You may be required to examine the equipment periodically to retain validity under the warranty.

Also, while your furnace should ideally last for more than two decades, it is important to understand that at 15 years or less, you might encounter some serious issues with its operations.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Another part of the ways to improve your furnace efficiency is using a programmable thermostat. This allows you to automate your furnace use. Unlike manual tuning, the thermostat can be set to specific temperatures for different times. Thus, you save energy that would otherwise have been wasted operating when you’re not home.

It is recommended that you set the thermostat to a lower temperature when you are asleep. When outdoor and indoor temperatures are widely different, the furnace works harder to maintain your preferred temperature. But to make it more efficient, you may consider setting the temperature to 68 degrees or slightly lower. You can compensate for the cold by wrapping up in warm clothes and footwear.

Insulate Your Entire Home

Similar to ducts, your home is poorly insulated when there are many escape points for air. This causes the furnace to work extra hard at maintaining internal temperatures, resulting in a hike in your heating bills.

To prevent this, you may want to insulate areas such as your ceiling and your attic. Putting expanding foam or weatherstripping around openings such as doors and windows will also be of help. For further insulation, you may use objects such as pieces of art, quilts, and a number of others to decorate your room.

Rugs and thick curtains should equally help with giving a feeling of warmth. However, keep curtains open on your south-facing windows to obtain heat during sunny periods.

Insulate Your Ductwork

Insulating your supply ducts enables you to maintain air temperature. When ducts are not insulated, warm air may lose its heat before it arrives in your living space. The result of this is that the system works to compensate for this loss in temperature.

To insulate your ducts, you can either engage an HVAC technician or do it yourself. But if you opt for the latter, it is important to wear long sleeves and pants, eye protection for the dust in crawl spaces, and a mask.

Regularly Clean and Replace Your Air Filters

Dirty or clogged filters are a major block to airflow. When your filters are dirty, it affects the system’s ability to dispense air. There is also a risk of overheating under this condition. To avoid problems from this end, replace your filters once every three months. It is even more necessary to replace when you own pets or often bring home a lot of dust.

Consider Airflow Dampers

Dampers allow you to only direct heat to places you use in the home. They are a much more efficient option than closing registers in unused rooms as they block air at points nearer to the furnace. Airflow dampers can be controlled using a thermostat. Due to the electrical nature of their installation, you also have to call an expert.

Invest in a Secondary Heat Source

At times, it can be difficult to run your furnace at a lower temperature. You can fill this gap by relying on other heat sources such as a space heater. You can also explore alternatives like heated rugs or wood-burning stoves.

Motor Speed

If your furnace uses a variable-speed blower motor, it is important you pay attention to its speed. Where it is too high or too little, it can create pressure within the ducts. Also, when air travels too fast over the heat exchanger, it can result in a longer running time for the furnace. In determining the appropriate speed for the blower motor, you need to consider different factors. It may therefore be important to engage a professional on this issue.

Utilize Your Curtains

Rather than keep your appliance running for the entire day, you could practice opening your curtains to capture some natural heat. To prevent that heat from escaping, ensure you close your curtains every night.

Your Ceiling Fan

On the surface, using your ceiling fan during winter is counter-intuitive. However, you can improve your furnace’s efficiency by turning the fan on in reverse. This effectively disperses the warmth that stays at the top of the room.

Things to Note When Getting a New Furnace

Having discussed ways to improve your furnace’s efficiency, it is relevant to consider tips for getting a new furnace should you decide on a complete replacement. As quality and energy efficiency are the focus here, we have streamlined the list to reflect just that. Continue reading for more.

Furnace Type

Electric and gas furnaces are the most commonly used furnaces in homes. Before deciding on which one you should buy, consider factors such as safety, cost, and a host of others.

A gas furnace works by absorbing cold air, which it purifies through your air filter. It heats up this air with a gas burner before proceeding to distribute warmth through the ducts. As the air it supplied is bound to cool, the furnace retakes the air through its grilles and kickstarts the cycle all over again.

Gas furnaces may be a particularly cheap option due to the low cost of natural gas. However, you may attract additional installation expenses if there are no gas lines leading up to your home.

Conversely, electric furnaces use electricity to manufacture heat. This category of furnaces may cost less than its gas counterpart at the initial stage but surges over time with electricity bills. Safety-wise, however, you may derive comfort from knowing there is no live emission of flame in your house.

Also, electric furnaces may earn you a discount on your electricity bill when you allow your local electric utility to cut electric heat during peak times.


Another factor to consider when replacing your furnace is how comfortable it is to use the new one. In this regard, what applies to you may be the ability to control noise levels. For others, it may be temperature control perks. Whatever it is you look out for, you must have foreknowledge of the price additional features may incur. Doing adequate research will also enable you to find one that meets your preferences.


In the past, furnace efficiency ratings used to be much lower. Today, less than 90% efficiency ratings are considered subpar. Furnace efficiency is measured using a metric known as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). AFUE describes how efficient a furnace is at transforming gas to heat energy, the amount of fuel it uses to heat your home, and how much of that fuel is wasted.

AFUE is expressed in percentage form. A high-efficiency unit ranges between 90-97% fuel efficiency.


Since your purchase of an energy-efficient furnace is of great benefit to the environment, there are often rebates to compensate for the high purchase price. These can either be from state, local or from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers also allow you to have flexible payment options.

Product Reviews

Reading reviews online helps you form opinions before you make a buying decision. As buying a new furnace is a long-term investment, it is important that you consider what others have said about the product and whether these opinions indicate that you will likely be satisfied. You may also want to sample thoughts from your acquaintances.

This way, you can make an informed choice and prepare for life with your furnace.

Reach Out to Bear Valley Plumbing in Big Bear, CA!

In the sections above, we have discussed a variety of ways to improve your furnace’s efficiency. We have also looked at factors you may want to consider when buying a new furnace. For you to implement some of the options we listed above, you might need to consult a qualified HVAC technician. You may also need further advice on the best furnace for your home or tips for keeping an old one in top shape.

Big Bear HVAC experts offer you all of these services on a 24/7 basis. We provide quality maintenance and installation fixes to clients. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact us now.

If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.