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Don't be fooled by bad advice and careless assumptions. These home heating myths could waste energy and cost you money. Knowing the facts will help you reduce your energy bills and make your home more comfortable.

Myth 1: Cranking up the thermostat will heat your house faster

Fact: A furnace is either on or off. Raising the thermostat doesn't make the air coming out of the register warmer, it just makes the furnace work longer to reach the higher temperature.

By the time you're sweating and need to turn the thermostat down, you'll have overheated the house and wasted energy. Every home is different; indoor and outdoor air temperatures, furnace efficiency, your home's layout and how well it's weatherized all affect how long it takes to warm your home.

Myth 2: A bigger furnace will keep your home warmer

Fact: An efficient furnace that's the right size for your home will be much more effective than a huge system with more capacity than you need.

Climate, home design and weatherization are important factors to consider. Efficiency improvements will save on the cost of a new furnace by allowing you to purchase a smaller unit. If you live in a cold climate, invest in the highest-efficiency system, not the biggest. In milder climates with lower annual heating costs, it may be hard to justify the extra investment required to go from 80% to 90% or 95% efficiency.

Myth 3: Closing vents will reduce your heating bill

Fact: Heating systems are designed for balance. Closing air vents can result in back pressure, causing ductwork to leak and reducing heating system efficiency.

If your home is heated by a forced-air system, talk with a qualified professional about closing down the heating registers in unused rooms or adjusting dampers in the ductwork to redirect heat where it's needed.

Learning the facts behind heating system performance can help you save energy, reduce your winter heating costs and ensure your family's comfort all season long.