February 28, 2023
Should You Keep Your Heat Running?
In Colorado, you typically need to heat your home from October to April (or even May!). Then with our hot summers, you likely want to run your air conditioner on most days. Fortunately, we also have times in the bumper seasons where the weather is mild and you may not need to run your heat or your AC.
The question then becomes: Should you?
We lay out the pros and cons of running your HVAC system constantly. We cover the risks, efficiency issues and maintenance concerns. We want you to get the most out of your investment and keep your home comfortable all year round.
Reasons to leave your air or furnace continuously running:
- Comfort. You don’t have to wait for the temperature to reach optimal comfort. Your home will be a consistent temp throughout the day with more opportunity to even out throughout the house.
- Preserve your pipes. Even if you’re tempted to turn off the heat to save energy on a mild winter day or while you’re away, think twice. Sudden temperature drops can lead to frozen pipes which in turn could become a plumbing disaster. Don’t turn your thermostat down below 55 degrees.
- Air quality. Forced air systems give you the option of running your HVAC fan continuously, even when you’re not heating or cooling your home. This circulates the air through your filter and improves indoor air quality.
- Even temperatures. A continuously running furnace fan provides better temperature distribution throughout your home. Constant air movement mixes air throughout your home. This prevents stagnant air pockets or unpleasant hot or cold spots from forming.
Reasons to shut off your furnace or air:
- Energy use. While your system draws more electricity during ramp up, it also consumes more power if left on 24/7. Leaving your system running continuously results in more energy consumption overall. The 500 watt fan in your HVAC system costs about as much as a refrigerator to operate.
- Air conditioner efficiency. Most residential air conditioning systems use a refrigerant. Peak efficiency for these units is close to full load. So, when the air conditioner is working hard to lower your home’s temperature, its efficiency is high. If you leave your air conditioner on to maintain your home’s temperature, the unit’s efficiency falls. Ultimately this adds to your summer energy bills.
- System lifespan. The more you run your system the quicker parts wear and tear. This translates into higher maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan.
- Filters. When your fan runs continuously, it passes more air through the filters. Because your filter is taking care of more air, it clogs faster and needs replacing sooner. Don’t forget to change your filter at least every other month!
How long will my HVAC system last?
With proper care and regular maintenance, your furnace and air conditioner should each last 15-20 years. Keep in mind that these systems were designed to run constantly but they do lose efficiency over time. At a certain point, it may become more cost effective to upgrade to a more efficient system than chug along with an older one. A heating technician can assess your system and advise you on the best investment.
Can I run my HVAC Continuously?
We’ve laid out the pros and cons of keeping your HVAC running constantly. Whether or not you decide to run your HVAC equipment all winter and all summer, you need it working well. Schedule a HVAC tune up with Applewood to make sure your unit is at peak performance and runs when you want it to.