What You Need to Know About Heating System Fuel Consumption – Part 1

Do you want to learn exactly why your heating system burns more fuel than it should? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t have found this article. Following are answers to the questions you have, or ones you didn’t know you had. I will explain (in defined technical terms) how your heating system is likely to be costing more to heat your home or commercial building than it should and what you can do to reduce those costs.

Anyone who drives an automobile knows that certain cars use less gas than others. The same is true for heating equipment and like gas-guzzling SUVs, some heating systems consume enormous amounts of fuel. The difference between cars and heating systems is cars offer many benefits beyond the primary one of transportation. Cars have performance, comfort and visual appeal, as well as can be a status symbol. Heating systems are tucked away in a basement, attic or closet and their operation and performance are a mystery to most not in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) trade, and still a mystery to many in the trade – so-called, “professionals” (a term I use loosely throughout this article).

To clarify, I may interchange the acronym HVAC for heating, and vice versa, but this article is about heating systems, how they work and how they often burn excessive amounts of “fuel” – gas or oil.

Most building owners know how to set the thermostat, change air filters and check the fuel level on their heating fuel tank gauge, but that is about the extent of their heating system knowledge. Typically, building owners do not want to know how their heating system works; it seems too complicated and futile. They prefer to leave the technical aspects to the service personnel they have come to trust. Did I say “trust”? There are many reasons to examine your trust for your heating service company, fuel supplier and General Contractor if you are having a new building constructed – residential or commercial.

For starters, do not assume that the professional you hire to design, install, service or maintain your heating system is qualified to make all the right decisions in those respective aspects of the HVAC trade. Just as in most professions, heating professionals are often types who could care less about the quantity of fuel a heating system ends up consuming and costing its owner; their paycheck at the end of the week is more important to them. The majority of HVAC tradesmen have never been to school to learn the innumerable facets of the interrelated technologies. Moreover, many have never finished high school! But let’s not get personal. Mostly, tradesmen have gathered their knowledge through hands-on experience. Experience comes in two flavors: good and bad. If the on-the-job-training has been with lousy ‘teachers’, then the student will be a lousy apprentice and graduate to becoming a hopelessly old dog incapable of learning new tricks.

It’s not only ignorance and bad attitude that have a hand in your fuel-hungry heating appliance’s performance, though I wish it were. Deliberate sales of terribly inefficient heating equipment plays a huge role. Sadly to say, American made boilers Geen warm water and furnaces are among the least efficient in the world and continued sales of them guarantee that fuel companies will find you to be a better customer – you will buy more fuel! Greed will often lead to corruption, with most of the corrupt getting away with it. This is a significant reason for my writing this expose.

I have no specific desire to be confrontational with specific companies, though I know them well, but I can’t close my eyes any longer, knowing that we are all heading toward a dead-end with our consumption of natural resources. Fossil fuels are limited, they say the planet is heating up and polar bears’ extinction in 50 years is all but inevitable. But the more we consume the more we strip forever from the planet its resources and the little is left to meet the needs of its inhabitants in the future. Must we consume until we’ve proved that the human species is the most insidious parasite the planet has ever known? Do we only take and put nothing back? At least we can take less of the fuel we use to heat our homes, businesses and industries and save money as we do it.

 

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