While most furnace maintenance tasks should be completed by a licensed HVAC technician, you can perform a few simple tasks to prolong your furnace’s working life this fall and winter season — along with improving your furnace’s efficiency and performance. Use these seven tips to maintain your furnace.
1. Change or Clean Your Filter
You should inspect your air filter at least once a month. How often it needs to be changed — or cleaned, if it’s not disposable — will depend on the type of filter and the air conditions in the house. For example, households with multiple pets may need to change it once a month, whereas the average household might only replace their filter every three months or so.
If you don’t change your air filter frequently, it can become clogged. When this happens, airflow is diminished, so your furnace has to work harder to heat your home. It’s easy enough to check, so make sure you don’t neglect this task.
2. Seal Leaky Ducts
If you’re the ambitious type, perform a visual inspection of your home’s ductwork. If you notice any air leaks, you can use mastic compound or metal tape to seal them — both of which are likely available at your local hardware store.
Keep in mind, however, that HVAC technicians have special tools to find leaks, so they can do a more thorough job than the average homeowner.
3. Adjust Dampers
Dampers are simple mechanical devices that allow you to open or close ducts going to particular areas of your home. They can usually be adjusted via a small handle on the exterior of a duct.
In the winter, dampers should be set to direct warm air to the lowest floor of your home, because the heat will rise through the home. In the summer, however, you should direct cold air to the highest floor of your home, because the cold air will descend to cool your home.
4. Vacuum Interior of Furnace
If you’re comfortable poking around the innards of your furnace, shut off the gas and electricity and remove the access door. Vacuum off the burners and anywhere else you see dust.
While you’re in there, check the heat exchanger for cracks. If you notice any, call an HVAC technician right away, as these cracks can let carbon monoxide leak into your home.
5. Get Regular Tune-Ups
Before you turn on your furnace for the first time each year winter, be sure to have an HVAC technician come out and perform a maintenance check and tune-up.
They’ll perform a proper inspection of your furnace components. They can also test your system’s efficiency and make any necessary adjustments.
6. Keep Registers Free of Obstruction
Keep furniture and other obstructions away from your heat and return registers. If they’re blocked, the air flow in your home will be restricted, and your furnace will have to work harder to move air.
The end result is that your furnace doesn’t work as well and your energy bills are higher — so make sure you keep your registers free and clear.
7. Get a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats can reduce your energy usage a lot by minimizing unnecessary heating and cooling. You can keep the temperature comfortable when you’re awake, and step it back a little when you’re sleeping or out of the house.
This results in less wear and tear on your furnace because it’s not being used as much. Not only are you increasing the lifespan of your furnace, you’re saving on energy bills too.
With proper maintenance, your furnace can last over 20 years, so it’s a good idea to stay on top it. For all of your heating and air conditioning needs, call Service 1 Plumbing Heating & AC, Inc.