If you own or rent a home, you’ll need to make sure that the heating system in your home is working optimally. No one likes to be stuck at home without heat when the cold weather appears. Performing regular maintenance on your heating system can help save you money over a period of time. Maintaining a furnace isn’t difficult, but maintenance should be performed on a regular schedule. There are just a few things you need to check or attend to in order to help your furnace keep functioning properly.
Furnaces need filters in order to operate properly. One of the main purposes of furnace filters is to ensure that the blower fan in the furnace isn’t processing unneeded dirt, dust and debris. It is best to keep the blower fan in excellent shape so that it blows warm air through your home. Filters come in several different sizes. Some furnaces prefer certain filter brands, and you may find that some filter brands work better at picking up dust and dirt than others. There are even a few brands of filters on store shelves that are marketed to reduce allergens. Yes, those filters can be more expensive, but if you or your family members have allergies, they may be worth the extra expense.
It is very important to change your filter at least every year. If you have a furnace that has a thinner than an average filter, you may need to replace it every three months. You can even look at the filter to see how dirty it has gotten. If you’re wondering what size and/or brand of filter to purchase, take the old filter out and look at it. The size of the filter should be printed on the side, and the brand name will likely be there as well. Technicians, like Classic Home Services, will also sometimes place a sticker on the furnace, telling you what size and brand of filters to purchase.
2. Blower Fan Belt
The next thing you need to do to adequately maintain your furnace is to locate the blower fan. After you locate it, you need to check the belt that is on it to make sure it isn’t in disrepair. If you notice that the blower fan belt has cracks in it, you’ll want to get that replaced. If you let this repair go and don’t replace the belt, you’ll end up with a blower fan that doesn’t work.
3. The Flue
If you own a gas-powered furnace, sometimes the flue outside may get blocked. It is a good idea to check the flue pipe that vents your furnace outside very regularly. If you live in a region that gets heavy snow, snow can block the flue. When this happens, the heating system will shut itself off to prevent the people who live in your home from experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning. Yes, it is a necessary safety feature for furnaces to shut themselves off when the outside flue is blocked, but the furnace will also stop heating your home when this happens. The best solution is to make sure that the flue is free from blockages. The blockages don’t even have to be related to the weather. Sometimes, a bird will build a nest at the outside flue opening, and such a blockage can also cause your heating system to stop working. There are several other things that can happen to cause blockages as well, such as the growth of weeds around the opening or grass clippings that have collected around the opening. Check the flue often to make sure it is clear of such debris.
4. Regular Duct and Vent Cleaning
You’d be surprised at just how many people neglect to have their furnace ducts and vents cleaned on a regular basis. The ducts and vents collect dirt and dust as much as the other things in your home do. You can dust your collectibles, television stands and mirrors, but you will have a hard time cleaning your heating system ductwork on your own. It is best to telephone a professional to do such cleaning. Generally, thorough cleaning of ducts and vents should be done at least every three years. If you just moved into a home and weren’t provided with maintenance records, you’ll want to have someone out right away to clean the ducts and vents.
Much like your home and vehicle carpets, furnaces also need vacuuming to save debris from building up in them. There is usually a metal panel on your furnace that can be removed in order to see the inner workings of the heating system. You may notice when you remove this panel that there are spiderwebs, dirt, dust or debris built up inside. Take a regular vacuum with a hose attachment to the area to vacuum out all the stuff that needs to be vacuumed. This will also help keep your heating system functioning properly.
6. Yearly Inspection
It is a great idea to have a yearly inspection done on your furnace. Typically, it is best to have this inspection done during the late summer or early autumn season so that the furnace can be inspected for problems before the cold winter season begins. Trained technicians can look at your furnace to make sure they don’t see anything that may prevent it from running when it needs to run. This service is typically inexpensive, but it can be a very valuable service to have done.