Home heating efficiency is about way more than how old or new your heater is. It’s about how efficient your entire system is, from the heater to the ducts to the roof itself. Here are just a few of the key components in truly efficient home heating systems.
The Seals in Your Ducts. No, that doesn’t refer to a terrifying and impractical Arctic remake of Aliens. It refers to the integrity of your ductwork. If your ducts leak air, the best home heating systems in the world won’t improve your efficiency. Have your ducts examined on every level of your home, to ensure the warm air is going exactly where you need it to go, and not taking the scenic route.
The Insulation in Your Walls and Roof. Once the heat’s in your rooms, it should stay there. If your walls are poorly insulated, that warm air could easily bleed out, making your heater work extra hard to replace it. But even if the heated air is escaping into another room of the house, your insulation will ultimately play a part in how long it stays in your home — namely, once it rises to your roof, where your quality of insulation matters even more.
Okay, Your Heater Matters Too. No denying it, the age of your heater does play a part, especially once the rest of the system components mentioned above is squared away. Home heating systems that are even just five years old can already drop several percentage points’ worth of efficiency. Keep an eye on your bill, of course, but have your entire system inspected every year, to get a professional opinion on the real state of your system.
Whether you’re using a wood-burning stove or one of those new-fangled geothermal heating systems, remember: the heat source is just the beginning of the chain. True efficiency is a system-wide event, not just component-by-component. (But maybe you should make sure there are no harbor seals in your ducts. Just to be safe…) More on this.