If you’re thinking about going away for a season, and you know you won’t use your furnace for a few months, you may be wondering if this could cause anything bad to happen with your furnace. The truth of the matter is, leaving your furnace running, even if you’re not actively using it, can still cost you money.
It’s the same concept as phantom electricity. While you might pay a minimal amount to leave the furnace in an operative state, you could save yourself additional money and wear-and-tear on the furnace by simply turning it off.
If you just came back from a vacation, and you’re experiencing problems with your furnace, Ambient Edge can help. Call us at (888) 240-8283 for more information and/or to schedule a service call.
Types of Oil-Fired Furnaces
Some homes have gas furnaces, but the majority of homes in the United States have oil-fired furnaces. There are actually two different kinds of oil-fired furnaces:
- Water-based furnaces
- Forced-air furnaces
Water-based furnaces use water or steam to heat your home by way of radiators, baseboards, or radiant floors. Another name for water-based systems is “hydronic systems.”
Forced-air furnaces disperse heated air throughout your home via vents in the floors and walls. Another name for a forced-air furnace is a “warm air system.” These are the more commonly used of the two, but both water-based and forced-air systems rely on oil from your oil tank for fuel and use your thermostat to determine how hot your home should be.
How to Turn Off Your Furnace
An electric furnace is easy to turn off – simply flip the emergency switch to the “OFF” position.
If you’re not sure how to turn off your gas furnace, however, you just need to turn off the main gas supply. But, if you don’t use a hot water heater for your hot water, then you’ll want to double-check that you’re turning off the gas supply to the furnace, not the house. Otherwise, you’ll turn off the gas supply that also heats your water.
While your furnace is off, this is a prime time to schedule a preventative maintenance appointment with us. That way, you make sure everything is in working order and that all the kinks are worked out when it comes time to depend on your furnace again during the winter.
Turning Your Furnace Off in the Summer
You may want to turn your furnace off in the summer, especially if you use a hot water heater for your hot water. You may be thinking, why should I leave the furnace on if I don’t need the heat to come on anyway?
This is correct. You should turn your furnace off during the summer if you use it for no other purpose than generating heat. This is because it will continue to use energy even while you’re not actively using it. Not only does this increase your monthly utility bills, but it also wears your equipment down when it’s constantly in use.
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To turn off a furnace, then you will need to turn off the pilot light, which is that blue flame that lights up inside your furnace to produce heat. You will then, of course, need to re-light the pilot light when it’s time to turn the furnace back on. While this sounds simple enough, the pilot light may not be the easiest thing to access.
Therefore, if you do have to deal with a pilot light, your best bet is to turn your furnace off when you know you’ll have a long stretch of warm weather where you won’t need to turn on your heat, like at the end of June. Then, you can turn it back on at the beginning of September, when things are just starting to get cold, but where you won’t freeze if you have to wait for the pilot light to come back on.
Pros and Cons of Turning Off Your Furnace
There are benefits and drawbacks to turning off your furnace. As for the benefits, these include:
- Saving money on energy you’re using that you don’t actually need
- Saving energy, which is good for your equipment and the environment
- Avoiding heating your home when you don’t want to, like if someone adjusts the thermostat, and you start heating your home in the summer
The only real con to turning off your furnace is that it can be a real pain to turn that pilot light back on. If the pilot light is not something you can easily get to, then you may need to call a professional for help.
Need Help with Your Furnace? Call Ambient Edge!
If you turned your furnace off for the summer, only to turn it on and experience a problem, Ambient Edge can help. Our HVAC technicians have decades of experience dealing with nearly every kind of furnace problem out there. Our team is NATE-certified, and we offer all our customers at 100% satisfaction guarantee on all our parts, service, and labor.
So, if you’re experiencing an issue with your furnace or heating, don’t wait –give us a call today at (888) 240-8283!