As winter settles in its more important than ever to practice proper furnace maintenance to ensure that you don’t have any unexpected problems. If your furnace stops working in the coldest months, you not only face freezing temperatures but also the possibility of burst pipes.
With regular furnace maintenance, not only can you be assured of a comfortable winter, you can also look forward to greater energy efficiency and savings on utilities. Regular maintenance will help your furnace to last longer too.
Regular maintenance of the furnace can be conducted by an HVAC professional or you can do it yourself. When conducting a furnace maintenance check, you should ensure that all the furnace components are clean and dust-free.
Before conducting maintenance, turn off the heat and fuel supply to your furnace. Furnace power supply switches are usually located at the top or bottom of the basement steps or near the furnace itself. The fuel shut off valve is located near the oil tank on the gas line.
Wait for your furnace to cool before attempting maintenance.
Check your ducts for leaks and have them cleaned annually. Furnace ducts are notoriously leaky and can severely affect the efficiency of your system. Getting your ducts securely sealed will reduce your energy consumption by up to 20%.
If you have a system that is powered by oil, you need to replace the oil filters too. The used filter should be responsibly disposed of as hazardous material.
Clean your air filters regularly and replace them as recommended by your manufacturer. Clean filters improve efficiency and ensure that indoor air quality remains high even when your home is closed up for the winter.
Keep your outside flue clean and clear of debris, vegetation and snow.
Use your vacuum cleaner to remove any dust build-up on the coil. Oil all the moving parts.
Take the cover off of the air handler and inspect the blower belt. If the belt is cracked, frayed or loose, the efficiency of your furnace will be compromised. If the belt moves more than ¾-inch when you press it, you can tighten it by moving the motor back a little. To do this, loosen the motor mounts and shift the motor back a little before tightening the bolts again.
You can improve the efficiency of your furnace by reversing your ceiling fans to circulate warm air effectively.
Keep your family safe by ensuring that your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are in good working order.
Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations when considering your maintenance options.