With winter just around the corner, it’s time to take inventory on the heating system used in your house. Your furnace uses an extreme amount of energy. You expect it to run 24/7, and at high-efficiency, especially during cooler winter nights. Take the time to regularly maintain this powerful unit, and you’ll reduce the cost and energy taken when it’s time to heat your home.
Here are five maintenance tips every homeowner should use before firing up their furnace for the winter:
Change Furnace Filters Regularly
Dirt is the worst enemy of your furnace. An extremely dirty furnace wastes fuel and lowers efficiency. Too much dirt may even cause your furnace to overheat. Changing the filters periodically is one of the best ways you can cut energy costs and maintain efficiency. It’s inexpensive and easily done. Take the filter out, and hold it up to the light. If the filter looks clogged, replace it. Get into a regular routine of examining your furnace filter once a month. At just a few dollars per filter, you can’t beat the results of improved indoor air quality, and less strain on your furnace.
Insulate Uncovered Furnace Ducts
Inspect the furnace ducts that may be in cooler portions of your home. Do you have any furnace ducts in the garage? Garages are often unheated, and a spot often overlooked. Don’t let this killer drain heat away from where it’s designed to go.
Check Your Thermostat
Turn up your thermostat. Confirm that it’s working correctly by seeing that your furnace is moving through the start-up to shutdown cycles. Do this at a temperature you’d be comfortable with during the winter.
As an extra energy-saving tip, set your thermostat back 10 degrees while you’re sleeping. Or better yet, install a thermostat that automatically changes your thermostat settings at designated times.
Examine Switches and Vents
Check to make sure there are no obstructions in front of the furnace door. A safety switch is often placed on the door. Check that it “pops out” when the door is removed. Also check that heat vents, and return air vents around the house are open and unblocked.
Check the Blower and Pilot Light
If the furnace uses a pilot light, make sure it’s lit, and that the flame extends to the tip of the thermocouple. Also be sure to clean your blower assembly, pulleys, and belts leading to the blower. This can be done by removing the panel that covers the filter. A panel is probably held in place by a series of hooks or retaining screws.
Once you’ve completed this maintenance, you can rest assured that your furnace will be running in tip-top shape. You’ll be saving a little extra cash, and your heating unit will thank you for the care and attention.