Home Heating & Cooling

Did you know 30% of the heat you pay for is likely going up your chimney – not heating your house?

Let’s start at the beginning – where the heat is manufactured in your home. Walk down the basement stairs and take a look at the equipment – the furnace or boiler – where fuel is burned to make heat for your home. 

Most homes in New Jersey burn natural gas to create heat in a furnace (hot air system) or boiler (hot water system). Some homes are also heated by burning oil, propane, or wood which work in a similar way - heated air or water is moved up to the living areas of the house through  ducts or pipes. The air or water is then circulated back to the heating unit to bereheated again and again.

Here are three ways your heating equipment may be losing you money...

1. It’s the wrong size – usually too big.

If your unit is too big for the size of your home, it’s generating too much heat. Excess heat that escapes up the chimney is wasted money. And, if your unit is too small, it isn’t generating enough heat to warm your home, so it’s always on, struggling to answer the thermostat’s call. The result in both cases is unnecessarily high heating bills.

To figure the right size unit for your home we use a formula to determine your home’s volume - square footage times the height of ceilings. The type of construction, direction the house faces and number and size of windows on each side of the home is plugged into the formula. The amount of air leakage and the type and depth of insulation are also included to calculate the amount of heat your home needs to be comfortable. The standard formula is published by the Association of Air Conditioning Contractors (ACCA) who call it “Manual J”. Once you have all of these measurements and the formula, selecting a right sized furnace or boiler is easy.

2. Its not adjusted properly.

If your furnace or boiler hasn’t had routine maintenance, it is more than likely out of tune and burning more fuel than it should, while not creating enough heat.  This is the easiest problem to fix – call your service company or the company that supplies your fuel – they will be happy to come and adjust your burner so that it works the way it was designed. But, as we’ll see in the next section, it may not be designed to be particularly efficient.

3. It’s inefficient by today’s standards of technology.

The most common problem with inefficient heating units is easy to determine. It’s also the one that drains your pocket the most. All you need to know is the age of your current equipment. The technology of heating has evolved rapidly in the past few years. If your current unit is 10 years old or more, it probably converts 70% or less of the fuel energy into heat. That’s it. Just 70% today, boilers and furnaces are engineered to use 95% or more of the energy in the fuel to make your home comfortable.

State of the art furnaces and boilers are better able to transfer heat from the flame to your home.  They do this by using equipment called “secondary heat exchangers”.  For now, all you need to know is that a modern furnace or boiler is able to get much more heat circulating throughout your home rather than sending it up the chimney.

Modern electronic controls have gotten smarter, just like smart phones, smart cars, and smart games like Wii. They can take into account the outdoor temperature, the temperatures inside the furnace and the rate at which the air or water is circulating through the house. Thermostats and control systems are digital and more effective than old dial thermostats. When you set your thermostat to a specific temperature your electronic control system will more accurately monitor and adjust your home’s temperature, saving you money while assuring your comfort.

One benefit of these technology gains is that much of the 30% or so of the fuel’s energy that was used to float the exhaust gas up the chimney is now channeled into the house as useable heat.

Together, these improvements in heating technology have pushed the key measurement of heating efficiency – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or A.F.U.E. - to new heights. Older units have an AFUE of about 70%. In newer units up to 95% or 96% of the energy in the fuel is now moved into your home. That’s a gain of over 30% compared to the 70% level. Look for the AFUE rating when you go shopping for a new furnace or boiler – it’s like the miles per gallon rating on a new car.

So if you want to keep the steadily increasing cost of fuel from grabbing money from your wallet – here’s a way to use 25% or 30% less fuel right away – get a new, high efficiency furnace or boiler that’s the right size for your home..


Benefits of energy efficient HVAC systems include:

  • Improved comfort
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Lower heating bills
  • Lower cooling bills
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Improved building health & safety
  • and more!

The Home Energy Matters Difference:

Home Energy Matters provides whole-house energy efficiency services, which means that we will never try to sell you a product or service that you don't need. Once completing a comprehensive home energy audit, we'll determine the most cost-effective home energy upgrades for your home and work with you to determine the best options for your budget. We'll never try to sell you a heating or cooling system that you don't need.

Benefits of Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling:


Energy efficient heating and cooling is about more than just saving the planet: it also means a more comfortable home, with lower energy bills, and more.


For more information, or to schedule a free consultation today, contact us here!

Home Energy Matters - 410 State Route 23 - Pompton Plains NJ 07444 - (973)492-1890