The holiday season is a lovely time of year, but it’s also an incredibly frigid one. That’s why it’s imperative to brush up on proper furnace maintenance, as a furnace breakdown during this time of year could imperil your comfort and even your safety, depending on where you live.
Many homeowners don’t know the first thing about furnace maintenance, though, and end up hurting themselves or damaging their property through their ignorance.
By studying up on proper furnace maintenance techniques, you can save money while also ensuring you’re not threatened by the cold. Here are some tips for maintaining your furnace.
1. Know your furnace
The first tip for proper furnace maintenance is to become familiar with the equipment you’re working with. That means getting to know your furnace – if you have an older model, for instance, it may have a pilot light which must be relit by hand if it goes out.
Newer models usually don’t require such hands-on maintenance, but by following the instructions for relighting on your furnace access door, you can likely determine the timeliness of your current furnace.
For individuals who are considering purchasing a new home, it’s also important to remember to get the dirty details on your important household equipment such as your furnace.
You’ll want to know if there are any problems before you buy, and even if it’s running properly, you’ll want to learn its make, model, and any other relevant information which may come in handy later on.
If you can’t find any information on your furnace, you may need to get a professional to provide those details to you. After all, making an educated guess isn’t only going to be difficult, but also risky, as assuming that you have a certain furnace make or model when you don’t could end up costing you big.
It’s also important to know that no amount of furnace maintenance can fix a furnace unit that’s been improperly neglected for years. It’s therefore important to know how to clean furnaces, as you must either clean them yourself or hire a professional if you want them to be fixable when they inevitably need some maintenance.
A dirty furnace isn’t just unpleasant or unsanitary – it’s dangerous and inefficient, meaning that regular cleanings are needed for the best possible furnace efficacy. The ins and outs of furnace maintenance can usually be handled by local professionals if you’re not feeling up for the job during this time of the year.
2. Don’t forget about filters
Replacing your filter is an important element of furnace maintenance that can’t be ignored.
Nevertheless, many homeowners pay little to no attention to their furnace filters, which is something that will eventually cost them hundreds or even thousands of dollars if it ends up breaking down as a consequence of your negligence.
If you’re particularly worried about changing your filter, you can solicit a professional to help, but this is one of the areas of furnace repair which most homeowners can actually manage themselves if they’re handy and careful.
If you’ve never tried changing a furnace filter yourself before, don’t rush into it without brushing up on the topic first. By reviewing a guide for changing furnace filters, you’ll ensure that you don’t mess up the process and cost yourself a huge sum of money in the process.
Every furnace is different, but many professionals recommend changing your filter out every 30 to 40 days. If you allow your air filter to get too dirty, it could clog and present a sanitary or security risk by causing a serious furnace malfunction.
Similarly, ensure moving parts like the blower motor are properly lubricated so that they don’t break down at the time of the year you need it to be working at full capacity.
3. Reduce your home’s heating load
Is your furnace constantly breaking down? If so, it’s likely because your home’s heating load is simply too much for the furnace to bear.
If your home has lackluster insulation or a weakness in its construction, warm air could be slipping out, making the entire house colder than it should be.
This isn’t just physically uncomfortable – it’s terrible for your furnace, too, as it will need to work overtime to make up for the lost warm air that shouldn’t be escaping.
Don’t think that this is your single responsibility, either – other people in the household need to get involved. It’s helpful to sit everybody down during a family or household meeting to hash out the details of furnace maintenance in order to get them to understand why reducing your heating load is important.
In addition to getting everybody in the household involved in lessening your home’s heating load, you can also consider professional assistance in this area.
Infrared cameras or heating professionals can help you ensure your home’s heating load is manageable. Making sure that your vents are clean is a similarly simple step that ensures your furnace will remain operating at max capacity.
Clogged vents (like lackluster insulation) will overwork your furnace while ensuring your living room, kitchen, and bedroom remain frigid and uninhabitable in the depths of a cold winter.
Still struggling? Take some time to read up on common furnace mistakes that plague homeowners who aren’t on the lookout for them.
4. A good furnace is everything
There’s no denying that a good furnace is everything when it comes to the comfort and security of your home. A furnace which isn’t frequently maintained won’t just become dirty and imperil your hygiene, but could become dangerous and imperil your health.
By regularly running a “furnace maintenance audit” to ensure you’re meeting your responsibilities as a homeowner, you and your family will suffer from fewer furnace problems in no time.
Find the best filters, regularly clean out your ducts, and properly lubricate your furnace’s moving parts if you want to avoid spectacular breakdowns during the chilly season.
Never be afraid to solicit professional help if it’s needed, as some homeowners put these maintenance tasks off until it’s too late. Soon, you’ll be maintaining your furnace like never before and ensuring a warm and safe winter for you and your family.