There are many things a homeowner must do to keep the appliances and systems in the home working safely and efficiently. When you first invest in a new furnace installation, you may be tempted to check this item off of your list and not think about your furnace for a few years. However, this is a mistake both for the health of your heating system and for your budget. Here are a few things that you should be doing regularly to keep your furnace in good condition.
Tip #5: Properly Care For Your Vents
There are two types of vents in your home: supply vents, and return vents. The supply vents are the vents that you may have snuggled next to as a child during particularly chilly winter mornings. Warm air comes from your furnace and is blown out of your supply vents. However, the return vents in your home are also important because they allow cooler air to recirculate back into the system and be warmed again by your furnace.
For this air circulation process to work properly, all of the vents in your home need to be open and free from any obstructions. This means that no furniture should be placed in front of or on top of either your supply vents or your return vents. Vents can also begin to work less effectively if there is dust clogging up the vents or any obstructions in the ductwork.
On a fairly regular basis, you should remove vent covers and clean them inside and out. While the cover is removed, you can also take a vacuum that has a hose and clean out the opening to the ductwork to keep it clear of any dust or debris. You can even give your ductwork a cursory glance to make sure there are no signs of rodent nests or any other significant obstructions.
Tip #4: Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient
One of the best ways to keep your furnace in good condition is to pay attention to the efficiency of the rest of your home. If your furnace is working all day to heat your home, only to have that heat escape through badly insulated windows or a drafty fireplace, it will cause your furnace to have a much shorter lifespan. When budgeting for the annual HVAC repair cost in your home, you should also set aside some funds to seal your house.
If you are looking for more affordable ways to do this, you can consider purchasing cling-wrap kits for your windows. These can be easily placed on your windows to keep warm air from escaping through holes or cracks around the edges of your windows. You can also purchase new weather-stripping for your doors which can make a big difference. You will also want to concentrate some of your efforts on the attic. Heat rises, and when your attic is not well-insulated, it can escape.
If you are unsure of where to start in improving the efficiency of your home, you can talk to an HVAC technician or even an energy auditor. These companies can help you identify the areas of your home that are losing the most heat and give you cost-effective solutions for solving these problems. You can pick one or two items on the list each year to make gradual improvements to your home and help your furnace to not have to work as hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Tip #3: Replace Your Filters Often
The air that enters your furnace system can be full of dust, allergens, pet hair, smoke, and more. When these particles enter a furnace, they can cause damage or, at the very least, can cause your furnace to run much less efficiently. Not only this, but filters also help to improve the air quality in your home by stopping dust from entering the air inside your furnace and preventing particles from being recirculated throughout the home.
Furnace filters can cost you anywhere from $40 to $200 per year to replace, depending on the model of your furnace and the quality of filter that you purchase. This may seem like a significant amount, but it is far more affordable than the HVAC installation cost that you would pay to replace a furnace that was damaged by dust and debris.
You should check your filters frequently and change them as soon as they appear dirty. Filters usually need to be changed every three months, but every home is different. If you have pets that shed hair, change your filter every 1-2 months to keep it from getting clogged by pet hair. Additionally, if you live in a dusty area or there is a lot of construction near your home, your filter may be working extra hard to keep your air clean and will need to be changed more regularly.
Tip #2: Maintain the Blower Motor
When removing the access panel to change your filter, you may notice dirt and dust collecting inside. One of the key indications that this dust has started to affect your system is when your blower motor begins to make noises. Squeaking, rattling, or grinding noises are usually a sign that metal is scraping against metal. This can happen when there is too much dust, one of the components has been knocked loose, or there is not enough lubrication.
You can prevent some of these problems by cleaning around the blower, lubricating the blower motor parts, and cleaning the blower, belts, and pulley. Remember to always turn off the power to your furnace before attempting any cleaning or repairs, and stay away from wires to prevent knocking them loose. If your furnace is making any of the aforementioned sounds, you will want to call your local service provider for HVAC repair.
Tip #1: Check Your System for Obstruction and Damage
Each time you change your filter, or when the season changes, you can do a check of your entire furnace and the surrounding areas to make sure there is nothing obviously wrong with your system.
The first thing you want to check is to make sure there are no items placed near your furnace. The area around your furnace should be completely clear. You will want to remove everything including boxes, storage items, flammable items such as fuel or paint, or cleaning supplies. In a small home, it may be tempting to use the space around your furnace as storage, but this should always be avoided both to prevent fires and to keep your furnace working efficiently.
You will also want to check for signs of damage or corrosion on the furnace itself. Any damage to areas and components such as the combustion chamber or heat exchanger can cause carbon monoxide leaks and other problems. If you see any visible signs of damage while you are cleaning or changing your filter, you will want to schedule HVAC repairs as quickly as possible. Additionally, always make sure to install high-quality carbon monoxide detectors in your home so that you can be immediately informed of any unsafe levels of CO in your home.
Investing in Professional Maintenance
While there are many things that you should be doing to maintain your furnace throughout the year, DIY cleaning and maintenance is no replacement for a professional furnace tune-up. Scheduling an annual tune-up is an essential part of taking care of your HVAC system, and it can come with a lot of additional benefits as well. Your safety, convenience, and budget will all be positively impacted by professional services.
During a tune-up, your HVAC technician will look over every inch of your furnace to assess its condition and see if there are any repairs or adjustments needed. They can help with making sure your system is safe, both in terms of carbon monoxide levels and electrical connections. They will check the airflow of the system to make sure it is acceptable, and they will lubricate moving parts.
Getting a professional tune-up done each year will minimize the number of significant repairs that your system will need over its lifetime. A scheduled maintenance appointment is much more convenient than needing an emergency furnace repair in the middle of the night. It is also proven to help extend the lifespan of your furnace so that it can continue to produce quality heat for many years. Professional maintenance will help your furnace to run more efficiently as well so that your heating bill can be lower every month. If it has been some time since your last tune-up, search “HVAC repair near me” to find a reputable provider.
Preventing damage from occurring in your furnace is always much cheaper than fixing a problem that has already occurred. There are quite a few things that you can do by yourself at home to make sure your furnace is in the best condition. By changing your filters, checking for damage and obstruction, making your home more efficient, and scheduling a yearly tune-up, you can prevent most major repairs.