Your furnace is an essential component of keeping your home and family comfortable during the colder months of the year. While there are some jobs better left to professional Philadelphia heating contractors, there are several things you can do on your own that don’t require expert training or experience. Before the first cold snap, be sure you do your part in keeping your heater in prime operating condition.
Change the Filters
Regularly changing your furnace filters is essential to the proper and efficient operation of your furnace. A clean filter provides proper airflow, which keeps your unit from working more than necessary to pump heated air through a filter clogged with dust and debris, which can seriously impact your heating bills. To save as much as possible on furnace filters, it’s a good idea to buy them during the summer season. Consult a professional to determine how often you should change your filters.
Keep Your Furnace Clean
The furnace’s blower compartment should be kept as clean as possible, which you can easily do with a vacuum and attachment. Besides the blower compartment, be sure to keep the furnace motor clean. In addition to making your furnace more efficient by keeping it clean, you’re also preventing it from overheating, which can lead to avoidable breakdowns.
Inspect the Furnace
Simply examining your furnace can help you spot minor problems and take care of them before they become major problems. Make sure you turn off the furnace before removing the front doors and checking to see whether there are any water leaks, loose electrical connections or anything else that simply looks wrong. If you find your ducts have a leak as you inspect your furnace, you can use either high-temperature silicone or metal tape to patch them up and ensure no air is wasted while your unit is in use.
Check Blowers and Burners
Poorly maintained furnaces can quickly become fire hazards. Before using your unit for the first time this fall or winter, take care of any debris that might have gathered around the burner. You should also check to see that your burner is free of rust and is in the correct alignment for maximum functionality. In regards to the blower, shut off the circuit breaker before removing the component and adding a few drops of oil to all the ports. If you aren’t confident in your abilities to oil the blower, just leave the job to a professional. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your furnace as well as your safety.
Make Sure Your Vents Can “Breathe”
Something else you should do before using your furnace for the first time this year is look to see whether any vents are obstructed; you might have moved a few things around in your home since the last time you used your furnace. While checking your vents, ensure there’s nothing flammable or combustible positioned near them.
Keep the Pilot Clean
Use a drinking straw to blow dust off the pilot light to better ensure the flame sensor doesn’t think the pilot isn’t lit when it actually is, which can lead to more than a little confusion and frustration. If your furnace is a newer model, it might use a hot surface ignitor instead of a traditional pilot light.
Check to See Whether You Need to Adjust the Dampers
Depending on the type of furnace you have, you might have to adjust the dampers when you switch from using your air conditioner to your furnace. If this is the case, you’ll likely see specific settings on your dampers. You might even have two different supply trunks for the dampers if you have a two-story home.
Know When to Call in a Pro
While this tip isn’t specifically for maintaining your furnace successfully on your own, it’s essential to point out nonetheless. If you’re ever unsure about any of the tips above, or if you discover an issue you feel ill-equipped for, do not hesitate to call up a heating contractor to take over. Contractors have the experience, education and tools necessary to take optimum care of your unit, and relying on them can keep you and your family safe and comfortable this winter season.
Learn a few things and become more self-reliant by doing your part to take care of your furnace. A little effort is sure to go a long way and give you a sense of satisfaction.