April 19, 2021

You will not need your gas furnace all summer. You can opt to switch it off or leave it on. If you do not switch off your gas furnace, it continues consuming gas even when the thermostat is turned all the way down.

Why Does a Gas Furnace Still Consume Energy in Summer?

Even when your thermostat is turned all the way down, the furnace still consumes energy because of the pilot light. Older gas furnaces have a pilot light that burns fuel all the time. The older systems feature a pilot light that ignites the furnace. If this light ever goes off, the furnace fails to ignite.

The idea behind a pilot light was to make it easier for you to switch on the furnace without manually lighting it up. However, the light makes your furnace inefficient even when the thermostat is turned down. With a pilot light, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of your furnace drops to as low as 56%. This rating shows the percentage of energy that is converted to heat from the total energy consumed.

Newer systems do not have a pilot light. Instead, these systems have an electronic starter. This starter makes the system more efficient, giving it an AFUE rating of up to 98.5%. Further, the electronic starter works instantly, and you do not have to keep it on for it to work. For most gas furnaces, the fact that you have to leave the pilot on 24/7 means you lose energy all summer.

Why Switch Off the Furnace?

The first reason to switch off your furnace is to save on fuel. The pilot light only produces a small flame that is smaller than that of a candle. However, the blue light consumes up to 900 BTUs every day. To sustain the light, you will spend about 10 cents every day on utility bills. At the end of the year, the furnace costs you $12 just to keep the furnace pilot light on.

Further, your system also requires electricity. The electronic valve that sends the gas to the pilot light and the thermocouple that regulates the pilot light will consume electricity.

As long as your furnace is on, the thermocouple consumes electricity. If you decide to switch off the gas furnace all summer, you will save about $20 every year in electricity bills.

Besides the energy savings, the pilot light generates heat and increases indoor moisture. Your pilot light is so small that you’d assume it doesn’t produce much heat. If you have been in a house with halogen bulbs, you know that these rooms can be a degree hotter than other rooms. You do not need to add any unnecessary warmth in any of your rooms in the summer.

The pilot light causes combustion in your furnace. This combustion results in moisture being generated. The moisture has no effect when the furnace is on because it is evaporated. However, when the furnace is off, the moisture accumulates in your furnace and can cause rust and corrosion.

Maintenance After Switching Off the Gas Furnace

When you switch off the furnace for the summer, moisture might gather on some of its parts. An inactive furnace becomes cool, and water condenses on it. This is especially common if your basement becomes damp during the summer months. That moisture can result in rust, which damages your furnace.

Worse yet, when the condensed water and the soot from the furnace combine, they propagate corrosion of parts. Even if there is no moisture on the furnace, the soot that builds up when the furnace is active can cause corrosion. This shortens the productive life of your furnace.

Debris and insects can also gather on the furnace. If these insects find their way to the tanks, they can clog them and interfere with the functioning of the furnace.

To avoid all these risks, you need to schedule thorough cleaning immediately after you switch off the gas furnace. Our technician at Weather Masters Corp. can help you do the cleaning and summertime maintenance. To combat moisture, you need to ventilate the room where the furnace is. If your furnace is in the basement where sufficient ventilation is not possible, you can turn on the furnace once a fortnight to evaporate the moisture that condenses on the parts.

Contact Weather Masters Corp. Today

At Weather Masters Corp., we offer installation of heating and cooling systems in new and old homes along with repairs and maintenance on existing HVAC and air quality systems. We also sell products. You can reach out to us for air conditioners, air purifiers, and heat pumps in Frederick, MD, and the surrounding areas. Call Weather Masters Corp. today, and find out your financing options.

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