Is Your Heating System Ready for Winter?

Key Points
  • Annual cleaning and inspection of your heating system can significant reduce winter energy bills.
  • Weatherization, adding insulation and building controls can optimize savings and increase comfort.
  • PG&E provides incentives for customers who implement an HVAC Quality Maintenance plan.
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Space heating is a significant operating expense for your business, but it is also critical for occupant safety and comfort, as well as employee productivity. While upgrading to a high-efficiency heating system can reduce your energy costs significantly, it also requires a large upfront investment. Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to improve the efficiency of your current system. The measures that follow will lower your winter energy bill, while raising the comfort level in your facility.

  1. Heating system maintenance. Have your heating system inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician at the beginning of each heating season. This will help to identify problems and ensure your system is running at peak performance. Change filters every month during the heating season. New filters are relatively inexpensive and worth the cost; dirty filters reduce heating system efficiency significantly.

  2. Seal and insulate ducts. Leaky ductwork reduces heating system efficiency and occupant comfort. Inspect your ductwork for leaks and seal with mastic tape. Aerosol-based technology is available for sealing your entire duct system, avoiding the time consuming process of manual sealing. Heat radiating through ductwork results in a significant amount of energy loss. Ductwork insulation keeps heat from escaping, increasing heating system efficiency.

  3. Boiler inspection and cleaning. If you use a boiler for space heating, annual cleaning and inspection of the fireside and waterside are essential to reduce energy costs and minimize the risk of system failure. Check all system components, including the refractory, burners, valves, filters and pumps, and clean or replace if necessary.

  4. Weatherize. The most efficient heating system is less effective if a significant amount of heat escapes through cracks or leaks in your building envelope. Weatherize windows and doors by filling cracks and putting weather-stripping around gaps where climate-controlled air can escape.

  5. Add insulation. Poor insulation reduces heating system performance and occupant comfort. Additional insulation in the walls and ceiling is an effective way to save on heating costs and keep building occupants comfortable all winter long. The level of insulation required will depend on the facility type and climate.

  6. Implement controls. Programmable thermostats and timers save energy by regulating temperatures according to building occupancy schedules. You save up to 2 percent on heating costs for each degree the temperature is lowered. Carbon dioxide sensors draw in ventilation air based on demand, resulting in increased efficiency and improved air quality. An energy-management system optimizes savings and comfort throughout your facility while integrating with other building systems, such as lighting.

Looking to reduce your maintenance and energy costs this winter and all year round? PG&E's Quality Maintenance Program provides of up to $3,386 per unit for customers who implement a Quality Maintenance plan for packaged units.


"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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