Top 6 Ways You’re Overworking Your Furnace

image of top 6 depicting 6 ways of overheating furnace and furnace efficiency

Furnaces are built to endure and typically serve households well for an extended period. Yet, they are not immune to deterioration due to neglect, excessive use, and mishandling. During the cold months, the last thing anyone desires is an unreliable heating system prone to failure. Furnaces are sturdy but can succumb to early wear and tear when not used properly. Inevitably, this leads to a complete system breakdown. Along the way, you may notice a dip in furnace efficiency, resulting in increased home heating expenses and a spike in HVAC maintenance costs. Thus, understanding how to maintain your furnace’s functionality effortlessly is essential.

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The Unseen Strain on Your Heating System

It’s not uncommon for early indications of furnace issues to go unnoticed or be overlooked until trouble arises. Moreover, many homeowners may inadvertently be compounding these issues without realizing it. In this article, we’ll unveil six common practices that unknowingly impact furnace efficiency and place additional strain on your heating system, potentially leading to overwork and stress that could be avoided. 

1. Leaving the Thermostat Setting On High When You Are Out

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Maintaining a consistent temperature in an empty home is a common oversight that can burden your furnace unnecessarily. Many homeowners might not realize the impact of keeping their thermostat set high when the house is unoccupied for extended durations. This practice can compel your furnace to operate harder, leading to excessive energy consumption and additional wear and tear.

To reduce energy expenditures and prevent overburdening your furnace, employing a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures based on occupancy can be incredibly beneficial. If your home isn’t equipped with one, manually adjusting your thermostat when you depart for the day can be an effective alternative. Ensuring the thermostat is set to advised temperatures while you’re present will also promote efficient energy use.

2. Allowing Cold Air In Your Home

Habits as simple as leaving windows and doors ajar can invite cold drafts into your home, prompting your furnace to work overtime to compensate for the drop in temperature. Inspecting and ensuring that all entry points are securely closed and locked is crucial. Identifying and addressing drafts—often stemming from cracks, gaps, and holes around windows and doors—is equally important. Prompt repairs to these vulnerabilities are vital. 

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3. Increasing the Thermostat Temperature 

In moments when the cold seems biting, resist the impulse to crank up the thermostat as a quick fix. Initially, verify if the thermostat is set to your preferred temperature. If it’s not, adjust it to the appropriate level, but avoid the temptation to go higher. When the thermostat is already at an ideal setting, further increasing the temperature won’t hasten warmth and will only place undue stress on your furnace. 

4. Obstructing Vents with Furniture

image of hvac air vent and hands depicting poor hvac airlfow

It’s not uncommon for air return vents to become inadvertently obscured by furniture, drapes, or other home decor. In pursuit of aesthetic or functional room layouts, the crucial placement of vents can be overlooked, leading to blocked airflow when items like sofas, planters, or decorative pieces are placed in their path. When vents are blocked, it hampers the furnace’s ability to efficiently distribute warm air throughout the space. Even strategic choices, such as positioning a bed over a vent for cozier bedding, can be counterproductive, as it restricts the proper circulation of heated air. 

5. Skipping Regular Furnace Check-Ups

Foregoing annual maintenance can be a critical oversight for any furnace owner. Regular inspections play a key role in furnace efficiency, and the early detection and prompt resolution of potential issues. These routine check-ups are essential for maintaining system efficiency and keeping energy costs in check. 

Additionally, if you tend to overlook replacing your furnace filter, this neglect can significantly overtax your furnace. Inspecting your filter monthly is advisable, ensuring it is clean and functioning optimally.

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6. Choosing The Cheapest Furnace Replacement

As furnaces age, their efficiency inevitably declines, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of wear and tear. Ultimately, the day will come when a replacement is necessary. 

Investing in a new, energy-efficient furnace can transform your home’s comfort, enhance indoor air quality, and lead to substantial savings on energy bills. However, it’s crucial to resist the allure of the lowest-priced options on the market. Remember, your furnace is a long-term investment, and its performance has a lasting impact on your daily life. 

Three Indicators of an Overburdened Heating System

1. Escalating Home Heating Expenses

image of homeowner calculating high home heating costs

While it’s expected for heating bills to rise during the colder months, a spike that exceeds normal expectations can signal issues with your furnace. There are several potential reasons for this increase. A good starting point is to examine your air filters and change them if they are dirty. Should the filters appear clean, yet the costs remain high, it would be prudent to enlist the expertise of an HVAC contractor for a thorough inspection of your heating system. 

2. Inconsistent Heating Across Your Home

When your furnace struggles to maintain a steady temperature, resulting in a mix of chilly drafts and warm spots in various rooms, it’s a clear sign of a system under strain. This inconsistency often means the furnace is overworked and failing to fulfill your comfort requirements. In such cases, a professional evaluation is essential. 

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3. Constant Furnace Repairs

A furnace that demands frequent repairs is often one that is overburdened. The harder a furnace has to work, the more rapidly it experiences wear and tear, leading to a shortened lifespan. Such a pattern of ongoing issues may indicate that a replacement is on the horizon sooner than expected.


Mastering the management of your home’s heating involves a blend of technical knowledge and practical know-how. Comprehending the workings of your HVAC system is crucial to preserving its efficiency and longevity. Engaging with a trusted HVAC contractor is a wise step for those eager to delve deeper into maintaining their HVAC system at peak performance or for homeowners considering a furnace upgrade. 

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Contact Van Varick & Sons for Expert Heating Solutions

Van Varick & Sons stands as the premier authority in heating and cooling services within Northern New Jersey. Our team of professionally certified technicians has extensive experience to swiftly and adeptly address any home comfort challenge you face. 

With Van Varick & Sons, you’re assured of receiving the most competitive rates in the area and a steadfast commitment to your satisfaction through our comprehensive work guarantee. Don’t hesitate to contact Van Varick & Sons to arrange a complimentary in-home estimate and discover how we can enhance your home heating experience.

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