With the days becoming shorter and the weather getting colder, it’s the perfect time to prepare your furnace for the upcoming winter. Taking some simple, preventative measures will reduce the risk of your system experiencing a breakdown and leaving your home without heat when it’s most needed. In the guide below, discover the best ways to accomplish this task.
How to Keep the Furnace Running During Winter
1. Replace the Air Filter Regularly
Your furnace needs to breathe, and it really needs to breathe clean air. Therefore, your heating system is equipped with an air filter that traps airborne particles as it circulates heated air throughout your home.
The filter’s media can quickly become clogged with dust, dirt, dander, and other allergens and pollutants. Once dirty, it will restrict airflow, resulting in a variety of problems such as reduced system efficiency and poorer indoor air quality. Additionally, a plugged up filter can result in excessive temperatures within the furnace, thus triggering a safety shutdown that will leave you in the cold. Furthermore, clogged air filters cause the blower system to strain to maintain proper air flow, causing premature failure of the blower system.
Change your system’s air filter according to manufacturer specifications, which may be anywhere from 30 days to six months. If there are pets or smokers in the home, you may need to change your filters more often than the manufacturer recommends.
2. Clean the Vents
Did we mention that your furnace needs to breathe? Now that you have your furnace’s filter freshly changed, you need to ensure that air can freely leave and reenter the duct system. This means that you need to look for any obstructions on or near the air vents and return grates that will restrict airflow and cause your furnace to operate inefficiently.
Common problems include obstructions like heavy curtains, furniture, or decorations that cover the vents and grates. Once you’ve checked that they’re freely accessible, clean them well, as registers can accumulate fine particles that build up and begin to restrict air flow. Normally, you can easily clean them by using the bristle brush hose attachment on your vacuum. If the vent covers are significantly dirty, remove and wash them in soapy water before drying them off and reinstalling them.
Lastly, don’t use any of the “filters” advertised to be installed on your vents and return gates. These filters will create harmful back pressure conditions within your furnace and ductwork system. Back pressure will accelerate wear on your blower system and create high temperatures that can damage your heat exchanger. Both of these components are very expensive to repair. The only filtration you need on your heating system is the filter system originally installed by your HVAC contractor.
3. Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Many homeowners ignore this annual task, which should be performed by a qualified technician. Annual, preventative maintenance is much more than just dusting and cleaning the interior of your furnace. It is an important step in helping ensure that your heating system is operating safely, efficiently, and as the manufacturer intended.
Preventative maintenance involves thoroughly inspecting, cleaning, testing and calibrating the heating system. While performing the service, the HVAC technician will conduct various diagnostic tests to detect and identify early signs of component failure within your furnace. For example, they could detect a malfunctioning thermostat or motors and sensors that are beginning to operate outside of manufacturer specifications. The tech can then provide you with the cost of replacing the soon-to-fail component now or wait until it does fail. Keep in mind that one component’s failure can cause other components to fail, thus resulting in even more expensive repairs in the future.
A thorough visit from a certified technician will help ensure your furnace is ready for the heating season and won’t leave you suffering in the cold. Additionally, a finely tuned and maintained furnace is a safe and efficient one, too.
If you need heating repair or maintenance assistance, turn to Jon’s Plumbing & Heating in Mount Vernon. With an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau®, we have over two decades of experience providing heating and cooling services throughout Knox County and the surrounding areas. No job is too complex for our licensed and experienced team, as we can handle everything from furnace repairs to AC installations. Call (740) 392-5667 to request assistance.