7 Furnace Maintenance Tips
It’s understandable that maintenance tasks often fall by the wayside. Many Henrico County homeowners follow the mantra of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Everyone is busy and many seemingly more important priorities tend to creep up every month to consume time and money.
However, the last thing you want to worry about when the weather takes a turn toward winter is a broken furnace. Our team at Howell’s Heating & Air wants to help you be prepared by providing the following furnace maintenance tips.
1. Change Your Filter Regularly
This is probably the easiest and one of the most important regular maintenance items a Virginia homeowner can perform. Clean filters allow air to circulate through your furnace efficiently and prolong the life of your system. Be sure to check the furnace and filter manufacturers’ recommendations on the frequency of filter changes.
This will also help improve your overall indoor air quality in your home. And, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), furnace filter changes can reduce your energy bill by 5 to 15 percent as well.
2. Understand Your System and Recommended Maintenance
Although most furnaces in the United States are natural gas or electric, many other heating systems such as propane, geothermal, heat pump, and radiant floor heating are now available.
Understand what kind of system provides your home with its heat, and learn how that particular system needs to be maintained. Some systems, such as radiant floor heating, may not require any maintenance while more common systems like natural gas heating need regular inspections and tune-ups to operate efficiently and dependably.
3. Think Safety First
If you decide to perform any other maintenance tasks beyond basic filter changes, be sure you put safety first. Turn off the power to your furnace before you begin to take things apart to protect yourself from getting injured. Consider hiring a professional to help with any inspection, cleaning, tune-ups, or repairs that are more complicated or you are uncomfortable trying yourself.
4. Use Your Senses
It’s easy to pass by your furnace every day and not notice it. Take the time to look at your overall system, especially in the fall, to see if you notice anything obviously amiss.
First, if you detect the odor of rotten eggs, call your utility company immediately. That can signify a gas leak, which can be extremely dangerous in your home.
Second, be sure the venting pipe is sitting at the correct angle and is secure. You should check to be sure all tubes are fastened as well. Listen for any unusual sounds or anything else out of the ordinary.
5. Clean Drainage Tube
If you are running a natural gas or propane furnace, it will create some water as a by-product. Although some moisture becomes steam, you’ll also have some water drain out into a drip pan.
Be sure this drainage tube remains clean and clear. Backed up water can damage your flame sensor. You can use compressed air to clear the tube as well white vinegar to reduce any residual.
6. Get Tidy
Dirt and dust can hamper the performance of your furnace, so regular cleaning should be part of your annual maintenance. Although you can clean around your unit easily, be careful if you try to clean the inside of your furnace.
Some components are very sensitive and can become damaged if you don’t know what you are doing. You can use a soft brush to gently loosen dust before vacuuming or contact one of our Howell’s Heating & Air professionals to do the job.
7. Perform More Thorough Inspections
If you are mechanically inclined, you can continue checking things like your burner flames to be sure they are even and blue. You can check your thermostat wires to be sure they are securely connected. Clean the flame sensor so it can continue to do its job well. This can be done with an emery cloth.
Contact Us for Your Furnace Needs
Even if you can handle many of these maintenance items yourself, it’s a good idea to have one of our trained and experienced professionals come annually and do a thorough inspection and cleaning. It keeps your system’s manufacturer’s warranty intact, as most specify professional maintenance must be performed annually.
Most maintenance services are reasonably priced and much less expensive than an emergency repair. When you are ready to invest in furnace maintenance or have questions about other ways to take care of your heating system, call Howell’s Heating & Air at 804-977-0994 in Henrico County, VA, or request service online for more details.