Turn up the heat! Well, check your furnace first—but then turn up the heat!
When outside temperatures start to drop, it’s important to ensure you’re covering the basics of furnace maintenance. This will help you in a number of ways, including extending the life of your furnace—that is one expensive system to replace!
Have You Got That ‘Filter’ Feelin’?
Imagine wearing a cotton surgical mask. Much like that mask is filtering your breath as you exhale, the filter in your furnace is there to prevent dust and debris from being pulled into your furnace (and back into the air you’re breathing). That debris builds up over time, making your furnace work harder to pull air through it, which increases your electric bill and wears down the system itself. Changing the filters every other month, maybe even monthly if you have pets or children, allows the air to flow easily and helps keep your machine running smoothly.
Cleaning & Professional Inspections
Think of it this way: The less dust there is on your furnace, the less there is to clog your filter. Dusting the outside of your furnace is a must on a fairly regular basis (at least once every few months). In a lot of cases, this can be done with a can of compressed air or a damp cloth. That said, hire a professional HVAC contractor to conduct a tune up (and clean inside your furnace) in the spring and fall. A professional inspection can make a big difference, as licensed contractors are much more likely to catch an issue before it becomes a real (and more expensive) problem.
Look & Listen
The color of your pilot light indicates whether it’s burning at the correct ratio. Check on it occasionally to verify it’s burning at a steady blue. Any other color could be dangerous (an excess of carbon monoxide, for example), and you may want to consider hiring a licensed contractor to inspect it. Listen to your furnace as well. You are around it the most, and you know what sounds it typically makes. If it makes sounds you’re not used to, give that licensed contractor a call.
Another way to maximize your furnace’s efficiency is to clean your main living area vents from time to time. Take off and clean the covers, and vacuum inside the vents. Remember, any dust in there is dust you’re regularly breathing in.
Happy heating season! Check out our blog for more household tips and tricks!