4 Furnace Maintenance for Homeowners
Furnace Maintenance Tips You Need to Know
When your HVAC system was installed, it was customed-fit to meet the heating and cooling needs of the space in your home with well-designed components. However, like every well-designed mechanical system, it needs periodic maintenance; some maintenance tasks can be completed by homeowners, and some will need to be completed by HVAC professionals. Here are a few helpful Furnace Maintenance tasks any homeowner can complete to keep their system functioning efficiently.
Furnace Maintenance: Replace Your Filter Regularly
You are very familiar with the heating and cooling function of your system, but it also provides a vital purpose in cleaning the indoor air. An air filter removes a significant amount of dust and dander, made more important during the winter when windows and doors remain closed. When too much dust accumulates on the filter, this creates problems for the system.
A clogged filter reduces the amount of air that can pass through the filter and, as you know, your heating system depends upon great air movement. So, to keep your air clean and your home warm, change your air filter regularly. You can find the air filter in the furnace cabinet, located where enters the cabinet from the rest of the house. The filter size is printed on all four sides of the filter. Purchase the correct-sized filter, slide the old filter out and slide the new filter into the slot. For most homes, the filter should be changed once every three months; if your filters are very dirty each time, consider changing the filter every two months.
Furnace Maintenance: Use Your Thermostat Intentionally
Old-style thermostats were merely switched on the wall to call for heat or AC as needed. Newer thermostats are programmable, and some come with Smart capabilities, so there is a little bit of a learning curve for using them properly. New thermostats use batteries and batteries will need to be changed—a good rule is to remove them annually. Occasionally, the thermostat setting does not match your indoor experience. If this happens, a professional may need to recalibrate the thermostat; this can be completed during an annual preventative maintenance visit.
Both programmable and Smart thermostats can be used to customize a schedule of temperature changes to improve comfort and save money. Research has shown that reducing your thermostat setting by 70 or more for at least 8 hours can save approximately 10% on your heating bill. Finding an 8-hour window is not as hard as it sounds: lower the temp at night while the family is sleeping or away during the day. Since it is programmable, you can schedule a warm-up 30 minutes before the alarm clock sounds to ensure a comfortable morning.
Furnace Maintenance: Keep The Ductwork Clear
Ducts supply warm air throughout the house and return cool air back to the furnace to be warmed again. Openings in the ductwork are scattered around the house strategically, including supply vents and cold air returns. It is not usual for furniture, accessory, or drapes to completely cover these openings and restrict the free flow of air. Do a regular inspection of the vents and returns to ensure they are all open. For best results, have your ductwork cleaned regularly—schedule duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years or as needed.
Furnace Maintenance: Schedule Professional Maintenance Annually
Even when you complete these simple maintenance tasks, your HVAC system should be inspected, cleaned, and fine-tuned annually. A technician will check the electrical and mechanical components to keep your system running efficiently, making needed repairs as they arise. Catching small problems early can avoid large problems, giving longer service life for the entire system.
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