Most furnaces are buried behind a closet door or hidden in a garage, making it easy to forget about basic maintenance. However, caring for your heating system saves you money over time. The system runs more efficiently, reducing energy costs, and also lasts longer than a neglected furnace. Several crucial maintenance tips should be followed to extend the machine’s lifespan and keep the entire family comfortable.
Turn the system off and grab a flashlight. You want to evaluate as much of the furnace’s exterior as possible. You’re looking for cracks or loose parts across the heat exchanger or outside housing. Run the system while observing it, but don’t place any limbs into the area. Look for obvious signs of vibration or unusual sounds. Observation is one of the easiest ways to find small problems before they become huge repair bills. If you check your furnace once a month, for example, you’ll be able to decipher between normal and unusual sounds or movements.
Clean It Out
When you observe your furnace, you may see a fine dust layer across coils. As the system pulls air into its components, dust is typically filtered out by an air filter. However, dust in the surrounding air eventually settles on furnace components, reducing their efficiency. Vacuum off the coils using a brush attachment, being careful to turn the system off when you work closely with it. As you reveal the clean coils, keep a wary eye out for any small cracks. Any possible leaks could come from a hairline fracture.
Test The Thermostat
Your thermostat controls the furnace’s activation, saving you money when it runs accurately. Test the thermostat by setting it at varying temperatures. Verify that it turns on when it reaches its temperature threshold. Because today’s thermostats are essentially small computers, many people opt for appliance insurance when they buy the unit initially. Some electronic issues are covered by limited warranties, but insurance covers other problems. Look for any frayed wires around the thermostat and any extensions into the furnace itself. Don’t touch any wires. If you find a frayed section, it’s best to contact a professional for help.
Air Filter Consideration
Air filters stop particulates from building up in the furnace, providing efficiency for all components. When you let the filter fill up, however, it fails to sift the air and forms a barrier. The furnace works harder to pull air in, effectively reducing its lifespan and driving up energy costs. Replace the air filter once a month during its busy season. Alternatively, purchase a reusable filter that can be rinsed. You’ll save money on filters and reduce landfill waste simultaneously.
Furnaces convert cold air into warm breezes, but this conversion process also produces condensate. Moisture from the air drips into the furnace’s drain system, typically evaporating from a pan or moving along a pipe to the home’s plumbing system. Check and clean out the drain system periodically. Sediment may build up, causing a blockage and subsequent water damage. The drain should always be clear because condensate drips constantly as the system operates.
One of the best maintenance tips is simply hiring a professional once a year. They can reach furnace areas safely to evaluate any possible problems. Specialized cleaning tools make the furnace look brand new. They can also tweak its performance to save you even more energy over time. Avoiding professional inspections only makes the system vulnerable to breakdowns at the worst times. You don’t want to have a failing furnace during a cold snap. Choose a yearly inspection to see if your maintenance tricks are paying off.
From vacuuming the furnace to simply changing the filter, your consistent maintenance does pay off in the long run. It’s possible for this appliance to last a decade or more with diligent care and observation.