Your heating system uses a lot of energy. Over time, strain can cause damage that not only reduces comfort and efficiency, but also your safety. Don’t wait until winter to schedule furnace maintenance. Follow these tips to manage operating costs and prevent air quality, carbon monoxide, and other safety issues in your home.
1. Clean the Filter or Replace It
The furnace filter is installed in the return duct. It is designed to remove particulates from the air, which can be harmful and irritating but also cause damage to various furnace components. Routinely cleaning or replacing the filter (as suggested by the manufacturer) ensures dust, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, pet dander, and other contaminants are removed. If the filter is dirty, it can restrict airflow, which will affect furnace performance. Also consider higher quality filters; disposable pleated filters can last three months or longer, while an inexpensive air filter may only last 30 days.
2. Keep Your Furnace Clean
Remove dust, dirt, and debris from around and inside the furnace. Working with inner components can be tricky, but a soft-tipped paint brush, used gently, can loosen dust and debris from the interior. Use a portable vacuum to continue removing material from inside the furnace. It’s important to clean the flame sensor as well; once a year, unscrew the sensor and clean it with an emery cloth before reinstalling it. Also use your home vacuum cleaner, with an extension, to clean air vents; this can suck up any blockages that may be hidden inside, allowing heat to flow more efficiently.
3. Reduce the Heating Load
Air leakage can strain your furnace. To make things easier for your heater, schedule an energy audit by a qualified HVAC contractor. They can use specialized equipment to find areas of heat loss and determine what improvements to suggest. Adding weather stripping to windows and doors, installing attic insulation, and sealing ductwork helps keep cold air out and prevent warm air from escaping
4. Don’t Block Any Vents
Furniture, cabinets, boxes, and other items that block vents can prevent air from flowing freely. By restricting air circulation, your furnace will have to work harder to heat your home. Blocked vents reduce efficiency as well. It’s also a good idea to keep all vents open. Your furnace is designed to heat your entire home, so blocking off areas will strain it.
5. Clean All Vents and Ductwork
Registers should be free of dust and debris, as anything near or in the vents can be drawn into the ductwork. For floor registers, remove them and clean up the area with a vacuum. Dirt and debris deep inside your ducts can cause problems as well, so schedule ductwork cleaning by a professional if it’s been several years or you’ve recently renovated your home.
6. Check the Exhaust Pipe
Issues with the exhaust flue can cause carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide to build up in your home. These fumes can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and death. The exhaust pipe carries gases away, so look for signs of damage or corrosion. You can patch small holes with foil tape but larger ones require professional repair. Call a technician if you suspect there’s any type of ventilation problem.
7. Perform/Schedule Maintenance Early
Most people don’t think of their furnace until it gets cold. But the coldest times seem to be when your heater is most likely to break down. To avoid this, schedule maintenance when the weather is still warm. That way, your furnace will have already been serviced, adjusted, or repaired so it will run properly.
Contact IRBIS Heating Cooling Plumbing
Equipped with the latest tools, our technicians are trained to maintain and repair all types of furnaces. We use complete maintenance checklists to ensure every aspect of your heater is covered, ensuring your safety, comfort, and well-being. To schedule furnace maintenance in the San Jose area, call 669-266-5464 or book your appointment online.