How to Make the Most out of an Inefficient Furnace


So, like many renters, I don’t have much say over the furnace my apartment has. As it just so happens, our furnace’s efficiency is rated near the bottom. We live in a floor of a drafty old house, and I’m terrified of my upcoming Xcel bill. The Department of Energy says we spend most of our money heating and cooling our home (see this chart).

In honor of this expense, I bring you tips for maximizing the heating efficiency of your living space.

1. Lower the thermostat as much as you can stand. Even turning it down 2 degrees can save you $300/year, according to New Jersey Natural Gas.

This comes from a person who can’t stand it any colder than 66, but at least 66 is better than 70. They say you should be able to withstand 60 dressing in layers, but I just can’t do it. I do turn it down to 60 whenever I leave the house, though. But don’t turn the furnace off altogether – if you do, the furnace will have to spend a lot of energy the minute you get home.

2. Weatherize your home. If you have storm windows, be sure to close both sets of window. When fall has arrived, get plastic weatherization film.

3. Take shorter showers. It means you’ll spend less heating the water. Wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot.

4. Make sure your vents are unobstructed. I was keeping my laundry basket in front of a vent, which was dumb.

5. Open shades to let sunlight in during the day. Who needs solar panels! Close blinds and curtains before the sun sets to keep the night cold out.

6. Limit the use of kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. This shoots your nicely heated air out into the world, wasting all that heat!

7. Add a rug to wood or tile floors.

AFUE is the American Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating. Your furnace will say what its AFUE rating is – a rating of 78 means that, of every dollar you spend on natural gas, 78 cents of it turns into heat and 22 cents is wasted.

(more tips from GasSouth)

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