You want your furnace in top running condition during the winter. If you perform proper maintenance, you can avoid most mishaps with your system. The right knowledge and a little bit of effort can keep your furnace running efficiently and avoid future breakdowns. Here are eight furnace maintenance tips that will help keep your heating system running great all season long!
Think safety first
If you perform any maintenance beyond basic filter changes, be sure you put safety first. Before getting started, turn off the power to your furnace to avoid injury. You may want to hire a professional to help with any inspection, cleaning, tune-ups, or repairs that are more complicated or if you are uncomfortable performing these furnace maintenance tips.
1. Understand your system and recommended maintenance
Although most furnaces in the United States are natural gas or electric, some such as propane, geothermal, and heat pump are now available. Understanding what kind of system you have that provides your home with its heat and learning how it needs to be maintained is critical. Some systems may not require any maintenance. Other more common systems, like natural gas heating, need regular inspections and tune-ups.
2. Get a professional tune-up
In any case, the best thing you can do to ensure that your furnace performs at its best is to schedule a professional tune-up every year. During that time, a technician will inspect your furnace for any operational problems and perform a number of maintenance tasks. These may include cleaning your system to help avoid future breakdowns, improve efficiency and make sure that your system is running safely.
3. Keep your air filter clean
Cleaning or changing your air filter prevents many furnace breakdowns! A dirty filter will cause all sorts of performance and efficiency problems. You can avoid them by simply checking and/or changing your filter once per month.
4. Test your carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors will warn you if your furnace develops a CO2 leak. A leak could be life-threatening to you and your family. Make sure that your detectors are working and that they have fresh batteries, especially during the heating season.
5. Give your air registers room to breathe
If any of your air registers are closed or blocked off by furniture, your furnace will have a hard time heating your home evenly and effectively. Make sure that all of your floor registers are open and there are no obstructions.
6. Check the pilot light in older furnaces
If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, make sure the flame is burning bright blue. If it’s a different color, it is likely burning inefficiently and you should contact a furnace technician to investigate the problem.
7. Don’t block outdoor exhaust pipes
High efficiency gas furnaces have exhaust pipes and they lead outside of the home and near the ground. It’s important to ensure nothing is blocking these pipes, so that your furnace can operate safely and efficiently.
8. Keep the area around your system clear
Remove any clutter from around your furnace. This will ensure you and your service technician can easily access it when the time comes for any maintenance or repairs.
Additional Furnace Maintenance Tips
In some cases, you must replace a system or upgrade the one you have already. If your furnace is old, worn out, inefficient, or significantly oversized, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model.
Before buying a new furnace or modifying your existing unit, first make every effort to improve the energy efficiency of your home in other ways, then have a professional size your furnace. Energy-efficiency improvements will save money, because you can purchase a smaller unit. A properly sized furnace will operate most efficiently. You’ll want to choose a dependable unit and compare the warranties of each furnace you’re considering.
When shopping for high-efficiency furnaces, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. In mild climates with lower annual heating costs, the extra investment required to go from 80% to 90% or more efficiency may be hard to justify, but it’s always smart to look at your options.
You can always count on the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical, to make recommendations to best suit your needs. Call 1.800.461.3010 to schedule an inspection and consultation.