5 Ways to Prevent the Need for Furnace Repair this Winter

5 Ways to Prevent the Need for Furnace Repair this Winter

When the holidays roll around, and the temperature outside starts to drop, people naturally decide to stay in more, hoping to avoid the cold. This also means that furnaces everywhere will be working overtime to heat our homes. If you haven't scheduled a furnace tune-up in a while, you should make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid major furnace problems later on.

The most popular type of heating system found in homes all over the country is the furnace. Modern versions are more durable and energy-efficient than older models--- not to mention safer. However, like any major piece of equipment in your home, getting an annual tune-up is recommended to ensure the optimal performance of your system.

When you contact certified, experienced professionals, you will have access to a team of experts with the knowledge and skill to assist you with your furnace tune-up or furnace repair. You don't want to be caught this winter with a broken furnace. This is especially true for homeowners with gas-powered furnaces since the unit can become dangerous if not properly maintained.

Furnace tune-ups and maintenance appointments play an important role in identifying potential safety concerns with your unit. A faulty furnace with a cracked heat exchanger or loose gas line, for example, could put you and your family at risk. You can avoid these and other common and recurrent problems by calling in the pros to check out your system.

The last thing you want to do is end up in a situation where you're scrambling to get a furnace repair completed because your equipment suddenly stopped working. Proper maintenance is key to preventing the majority of furnace repair issues that may develop over time.

There are many actions you can take to expand the life of your furnace. Here are our top 5 ways to prevent the need for furnace repair this winter:

  1. Clear Out Dirt and Debris

Before the cold season starts, make sure you vacuum and clean your floor registers. Blockages in your registers can prevent warm air from flowing into every part of your home. You should also check that no furniture is obstructing the airflow.

Look for dirt and debris inside of vents. If you notice a large amount of filth or you've never scheduled to have your ducts cleaned, you should schedule a duct cleaning as soon as possible. Over time, blocked ducts can create pressure inside of your ductwork, leading to cracks in the areas where heated air escapes.

Make sure you also change your air filters monthly and vacuum around the vent to prevent clogs in your heating system. Too much debris and particulates in your ductwork and furnace components can cause a premature system failure. As a rule of thumb, you should switch out your filters every 4-6 weeks during the peak of the summer months to get the best results.

  1. Weatherize Your Home

Weatherizing your home not only increases energy-efficiency but also saves you money on your monthly utility bills. You should seal off windows and large patio doors with plastic in the winter. Make sure that you are also diligent about replacing any worn weatherstripping on doors leading to the outside.

As an extra layer of protection against drafts, you can caulk around outlets and windows and fill in any holes around exterior vents and pipes.

Make sure you also have enough insulation around the access door to your attic or panel to prevent warm air from leaking out.

  1. Perform Preventative Maintenance

A professional contractor can perform an annual maintenance inspection on your system to inspect, clean, and conduct a furnace tune-up. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid a costly emergency furnace repair down the line. Not only will this help extend the life of your unit, but it will also help your contractor identify minor issues that could later turn into major furnace repair work.

If any issues do arise, your contractor will be able to advise you on the best course of action, whether that includes furnace repair or a furnace install. He or she will also be the best advisor on what a potential HVAC repair cost may look like.

  1. Understand Furnace Repair vs. Furnace Install

Some issues with your furnace can be resolved with a simple reset of your system. Other issues, however, require much more complex solutions that are best left to the professionals. If you notice that your furnace requires frequent repairs, or you find that your energy bills are increasing, or your home isn't heating or cooling as it should, you may be due for a new furnace install.

Upgrading your system to a more efficient model can help you avoid having to make emergency furnace repairs.

  1. Work with a Professional for Your Furnace Install

When it comes to your HVAC system, you indeed get what you pay for. So when choosing a new furnace for your home, make sure to focus on quality rather than price.

Another thing you'll want to be careful about is choosing the right contractor for the job. You can purchase a quality system, but if your furnace is installed incorrectly, this can be a contributing factor to a furnace failure. A furnace that is the wrong size is problematic: too small, and your heating and cooling system may fail; too large, and the furnace can heat or cool too quickly, causing extreme wear and tear on parts. Furthermore, the energy-efficiency of your home will be significantly reduced, and premature equipment failure is likely.

Other issues that result from a poor furnace installation include:

  • Failing Blower Motor - Inadequately installed ductwork can cause your blower to work overtime as it tries to overcompensate for poor airflow caused by leaks or improperly sealed joints.
  • Tripped Pressure Switch - Your pressure switch was designed to trip in the case of a catastrophic event. However, poor installation practices can cause it to randomly shut down, tripping the switch.
  • Malfunctioning Controls - If the airflow is restricted or your control board experiences moisture damage, this can result in faulty controls.

How to Tell When Your Furnace Should Be Looked at by a Professional

There are tell-tale signs that your furnace may be in trouble. You should pay close attention to these red flags since they may indicate that your furnace is on the cusp of breaking down.

If you hear strange noises coming from your furnace, or your system isn't heating or cooling properly, it's probably time to get your furnace looked at by a professional. This is especially true if your house is working with an older system. Another clue to take note of are higher electric bills, which usually indicate an issue with the energy-efficiency of your equipment.

Have you noticed water pooling around your heating system? If so, this is something you should have an expert look at right away.

If you take a look at the flame inside your furnace and see that the flame is no longer blue and is starting to flicker, you should immediately contact a professional. A yellow, flickering flame is an indication that improper combustion processes are happening with your system that could cause a deadly carbon monoxide leak.

Any knocking, squeaking or thumping noises coming from your HVAC unit is bad news. And if your heater is continuously cycling on and off, this is another indication that a problem exists somewhere in your system. Your furnace should come on, run for a few minutes, and then shut off, not be frequently cycling.

If you've cleaned your ducts and vent to remove any dirt and debris, but you are feeling minimal airflow, you should reach out to a technician. And obviously, if your a/c is pushing out hot air or your heating system is pushing out cold air, there is a problem that you should have a professional help you diagnose.

If your furnace has a warranty, you should note that most companies will only honor it if the homeowner is getting annual inspections and tune-ups from a licensed HVAC specialist. Make sure you keep your warranty active. Otherwise, you could end up paying big when something goes wrong with your furnace. Without a warranty, you could end up coming out of pocket to cover repairs, even if the issue was the fault of the manufacturer.

Your specialist will be able to tell you what the HVAC repair cost will be to fix your furnace, or they may suggest that you purchase a new unit altogether. The point is, a well-maintained furnace lasts longer and works more efficiently. Routinely checking your heating system will keep you from having to have to shell out money for an early furnace replacement.

At Energy Pro Heating and Cooling, we understand how frustrating it can be when your HVAC system is suddenly on the fritz. Routine maintenance and preventative care is the best way to catch potential issues early on, so they don't become major problems for you down the line.

Whether you need maintenance, repair, or installation of new equipment, our team can handle all of your heating and cooling needs! Call today to schedule your appointment!