Keeping your furnace in tip-top shape is a conscious effort to avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs. It entails learning how the unit performs, analyzing its energy consumption, and ensuring it gets the right amount of maintenance.
When you fully understand your furnace, you quickly detect issues such as strange noises, reduced efficiency, and high energy bills. You’ll immediately schedule a furnace maintenance service to remedy the situation. Here are seven tips for keeping your furnace in tip-top shape:
Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks
When was the last time you had your furnace checked by a professional? If it’s been longer than a year, it’s time to schedule a maintenance check. Furnaces need cleaning and inspections at least once a year to keep operations efficient and safe. The tasks carried out include:
- Cleaning the motor, burners, and heat exchanger
- Inspecting the flue pipe, ductwork, and thermostat
- Lubricating moving parts
- Tightening electrical connections
- Checking for gas leaks
- Checking the ductwork and sealing any leaks
Replace the Filter Regularly
One of the most critical maintenance tasks is to replace the filter regularly. A clogged or dirty filter will restrict airflow, causing your furnace to work harder and use more energy. It can also lead to premature wear and tear on vital components.
Besides, it lowers indoor air quality as contaminants get trapped in the filter. The general rule of thumb is to replace the filter every three months or as often as needed. However, replace it more frequently if you have pets or live in a dusty area.
Keep the Area Around the Furnace Clear
Your furnace needs room to breathe. Keep the area around it clean and free of clutter to allow proper airflow. Create at least two feet of clearance around it. Also, don’t block the vents that allow air to circulate.
The outdoor unit should also be free of debris to allow proper airflow. Clear vegetation, snow, and leaves around it and place it on a level surface to prevent vibrations that could damage the unit.
Reduce the Thermostat Settings in Unused Rooms
Lower the thermostat settings if you have rooms you don’t often use. For instance, you can set the temperature a few degrees lower in the guest room during the winter. This way, you won’t heat rooms unnecessarily, saving you money on energy bills.
Bleed the Radiators
If you have a radiator-based heating system, bleeding the radiators is an essential maintenance task. Radiators accumulate air over time, which reduces efficiency. You should bleed the radiators at least once a year or as needed.
To start, locate the bleed valve on each radiator. A radiator key opens the valve slightly until water starts trickling out. Allow the air to escape until you hear water gurgling, then close the valve tightly.
Check for Warning Signs
Be on the lookout for warning signs that indicate your furnace needs attention. Call a professional if you notice issues. Don’t fix the problem yourself, as you could worsen it.
Possible causes of furnace issues are a dirty filter, clogged vents, or a faulty igniter. Age can also take a toll on furnaces, especially if poorly maintained. The best solution might be to replace the unit with a new, energy-efficient model.
Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, upgrade to a smart one. Smart thermostats give you more control over your home’s temperature, allowing you to save money on energy bills. They’re also more convenient as you can adjust your smartphone or tablet settings. Some models even learn your preferences over time.
Keep Your Furnace in Excellent Shape
Regular maintenance keeps your furnace running smoothly and efficiently. Take time to understand the unit’s needs, invest in professional care, and it will pay you back with warm and comfortable home for years to come. You’ll also keep the energy consumption low and rarely require emergency or extensive repairs.
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