Caring for your heating system provides several benefits, which makes annual furnace maintenance a must. In addition to having a professional service technician perform an annual tune-up on your home’s heating system, there are some tasks that you can tackle on your own.
Prepare Your Unit
While sitting idle over the summer, your furnace may have accumulated a lot of dust and debris. While it’s certainly never a good idea for you to take your furnace apart and clean the internal components, there are plenty of parts that you can safely reach on your own. For instance, you’ll notice a series of vents on the front or side of your furnace. These vents allow air to circulate in and out of the furnace, preventing overheating. Since your furnace didn’t run during spring and summer, it’s possible for dust to accumulate on these vents, putting your furnace at risk.
Be sure that your furnace is turned off and use a cloth or a vacuum to remove the dust from these vents. This small step has the potential to improve furnace performance and efficiency, while also cutting down on the amount of stress that your furnace faces.
Everyone wants to save money where they can, and improving furnace efficiency is a great way to keep your heating bills as low as possible. While it’s typically recommended that you leave most maintenance tasks to the professionals, changing the furnace filter is a task that you can handle on your own. Moreover, this simple step can have an immediate impact on the efficiency of your home’s furnace.
Having a clean air filter is essential for efficient operation. In some cases, it’s a good idea to change your furnace filter monthly. If you have pets in your home, your filter likely collects hair and dander quickly. If you don’t have any threats to indoor air quality in your home, you can often keep a furnace filter in place for 90 days. Before heating season truly gets underway, put a new furnace filter in place.
Benefits of Professional Furnace Maintenance
Now that we’ve established some basic maintenance tasks that you can handle on your own, find out more about why a professional furnace tune-up is a good idea. There are some furnace components that you can’t safely handle on your own, which facilitates the need for a professional service technician to maintain these parts for you. If you’re still on the fence about annual furnace maintenance, consider some of these benefits.
Guard Against Winter Problems
A maintenance inspection provides an excellent opportunity to pay close attention to each component of your furnace. Some of the parts may be showing signs of wear. If so, a repair may be in order.
Fall is the best time to take care of furnace repair needs. By addressing an issue early, you can guard against more serious problems. You certainly don’t want to experience a furnace breakdown in the middle of winter, and a fall tune-up helps you avoid that. You can also save some money by addressing things early before they turn into larger, more expensive problems.
Extend Furnace Lifespan
Taking care of your furnace with regular maintenance can help the unit last longer. Well-maintained furnaces experience less wear and tear during the winter. For example, one important step of a tune-up is lubricating the motor bearings. Doing so reduces friction while the furnace is operating. If there isn’t enough oil on the bearings, they can start to wear away at the gears of the motor. The gears may then need to be prematurely replaced.
Eventually, you will need a new furnace, but most models should last for 15 to 30 years. Instead of risking an early replacement, make sure that you have maintenance done on your heating system each year.
Plan Your Heating Cycles
Annual maintenance shouldn’t focus only on the furnace unit itself. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the thermostat.
You may want to calibrate your thermostat. That’s a process of making sure that the furnace’s temperature output matches the thermostat setting you’ve selected. If your rooms are a few degrees warmer or cooler than you intend, then some small adjustments may be necessary. Your furnace professional can take care of the calibration process.
If you have a smart thermostat, you can also check your seasonal programming. Scheduling your heating cycles can save you money because you can keep the temperature lower during times when keeping the house warm isn’t as important. For example, you can plan to drop the temperature by a few degrees during the workday. You may want a lower temperature while you’re sleeping too.
Programming a heating routine means that you won’t have to think about raising and lowering the temperature manually. It can be easy for that task to slip your mind. Once you’ve programmed the thermostat, the settings will automatically change at your pre-set times.
Furnace maintenance is also an important part of using your home’s heating system safely. In addition to recognizing any potential hazards that can lead to electrical problems or gas leaks, your service technician can advise you about additional potential safety hazards. The technician who performs your maintenance will check your gas valves and electrical connections, helping ensure that your furnace is ready to operate safely all winter long.
Don’t store items too close to your furnace. The unit needs clearance. Objects that are placed too close to it could present a fire risk. If you’ve stored odds and ends near the furnace over the summer, take time to move them away before firing up your system for the year. You should have at least 2.5 feet of clearance on all sides of the furnace.
Also, a furnace can present a carbon monoxide risk. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas. You won’t be able to tell if you’re breathing air with a high concentration of carbon monoxide, but it can cause serious illness or even death. At the beginning of the heating season, be sure that you have working carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house. They can alert you to a problem before it’s too late.
Keep Up with Warranty Requirements
If you’ve installed a new furnace in recent years, then the unit may still be under warranty. A furnace warranty can be a valuable thing when troubles arise. However, if you haven’t kept up with your obligations for furnace care, then you might not have any coverage when the time comes.
Most warranties require that you have a professional perform annual maintenance on the furnace. If you neglect this maintenance, you may assume financial responsibility for the cost of any future repairs or replacements.
Norman Air performs both heating and cooling maintenance in Norman. We’ll handle your repairs and installations too. In addition to our HVAC services, you can turn to us for Norman plumbing and electrical jobs as well. Our BBB-accredited business looks forward to serving your family.
Call today to schedule your heating appointment in Norman!