Should You Keep Your Furnace on for Summer?

Unless you live in an extreme climate, chances are good you don’t even think about your oil-burning furnace in the summer. You may keep the thermostat turned way down – put there on the first really warm day – and leave it alone until the nights start getting nippy in early fall.

But is this the best thing to do?

The answer is that it depends on what kind of furnace you have. There are two types, both of which rely on your oil furnace to make heat.

Water-based Heating Systems

If you have baseboard heaters that contain water pipes, then you have what’s called a hydronic system with a boiler. Heat is created in the form of hot water or steam and circulated through your radiators, baseboard heaters or radiant floor heating.

Forced-air Heating Systems

If you’ve got vents that blow warm air, this is your system. Forced-air systems disperse heat throughout your home through your home’s floor and wall vents. Forced-air heating systems are the more common type of oil-furnace system.

The Furnace May Always Be “On”

Even when your furnace isn’t making heat because the thermostat is turned down, it’s still operating to some degree. In some cases, you may notice that your vents (if you have a forced-air system) blow cool air in the summer. This means you probably have your thermostat set “on.” Your blower will run constantly in this case, even when the burners aren’t on. In fact, older furnaces will still use oil in the summertime to maintain the pilot light. Newer models have electric ignition, which means they don’t need a pilot light to fire. If your furnace is older than about 15 years old, you may wish to turn the furnace off for the summer so you’re not wasting oil unless your furnace is in a damp area, in which case, moisture and corrosion could harm it.

Is Your Furnace Helping to Cool Your House?

It sounds weird, but in some central air conditioning systems, it’s the furnace that powers the outdoor compressor and AC evaporator coil. The compressor keeps the evaporator coil cool with refrigerant to generate air conditioning for your home, and the furnace’s blower acts as a fan. In this case, unless you want to forego air conditioning, turning the furnace off isn’t an option.

Call the Professionals

If you’re unsure what the best course of action is for your home’s furnace, get a professional opinion. Regular service to ensure everything is running smoothly can significantly reduce your oil usage. In Connecticut, Arbor Energy is a great choice for service of your home heating oil tank and system.

Contact us for HVAC services today and find out how you can keep your furnace in prime operating condition!