Furnace Care And Troubleshooting

Proper furnace maintenance can help you save in the long run

As the unsung hero of your home basement, your furnace doesn't get any attention - that is, until it stops working when it's cold outside. But paying attention to your furnace before it breaks may keep your utility costs down and stop you from feeling left in the cold.

"Homeowners can save money by extending the useful product life and reduce the severity and frequency of breakdowns if furnaces are properly maintained," says Dave Borowski, Director of Technical Training and spokesman for Direct Energy.

What Does Furnace Maintenance Involve?

Basic furnace maintenance can be condensed to three simple steps:

1) Change your furnace air filters a minimum of every three months. Dirty filters make your furnace work harder, which can increase energy costs, damage equipment, and lead to early furnace failure, according to Energy Star.

2) Create a regular maintenance schedule. Schedule your annual furnace maintenance in early fall before contractors hit their busy winter season - and before you need to turn on your furnace.

3) Pay attention. If you notice anything unusual - like a strange sound when the furnace starts or water leaking from the unit - it is always wise to call a technician to investigate your concerns.

My Furnace Is Fine. Why Should I Waste Time On Maintenance?

Even if your furnace seems to be working, there are several reasons that service and maintenance should still be a priority.

1) Safety. Since many furnaces are gas-fired, they are at risk for carbon monoxide leaks and could be a fire hazard. An improper gas or oil connection, a dirty burner, or a crack in the heat exchange can also lead to health problems and make the equipment less safe.

Expect your furnace checkup to include a review of the controls and gas pressure, a burner combustion analysis, and a heat exchanger inspection. In addition, a contractor will evaluate the location of the furnace and make sure home remodeling or code changes haven't made it unsafe.

2) Efficiency and Performance. If your furnace sounds like it's working harder than normal, chances are it is, and you'll probably see the effects in higher energy bills.

So, during your furnace checkup, the contractor should also check the burner performance, temperature rises, and fan control settings. A contractor can also let you know if your furnace is up to current standards and whether or not updates or a replacement are recommended.

3) Longevity and Baseline Maintenance. Just like oil changes for your car, experts say a home's heating and cooling systems also should get checkups to keep them running properly.

Annual baseline maintenance should include cleaning, lubricating parts, and checking all controls and vents for air flow volume. It is also a good idea to have ducts cleaned at least every five years.

To learn more about protecting your furnace, click here or call us at 1-888-733-1683.

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