You rely on your furnace to keep you warm during those chilly winter months. What you may not know is that your furnace actually works year round as an important component of both your heating and cooling systems. You can’t expect your furnace to take good care of you when you need it the most if you neglect it throughout the year. Here are some pointers for maintaining your home’s furnace year round:
Furnace tune up. You should have a professional out at least once a year to give your furnace a tune up and keep it running at its best. Statistically, those furnaces that are tuned up at least once a year are one-third less likely to break down. A thorough furnace tune up includes cleaning the blower wheel, removing scale and dust from the burner compartment, oiling the motors, replacing the belts, and checking safety controls, among other things. A qualified technician can usually fix any problematic conditions on-site and right away.
Leak prevention. Remove any weather covers on your furnace to inspect the unit for leak sources. Be sure to thoroughly examine the combustion chamber (the space where the fuel is burned), as a leak here can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in the air. To identify leak culprits, look for cracks and/or eroded areas in the unit. Call a professional out to repair and leaks that you find.
Filter replacement. Remove the old filter from your furnace (vacuum the dust and cobwebs out of the space while you are there) at least once a year – right before cold season is a good rule of thumb. You may opt to replace the filter with one of the same, or get rid of the filter altogether and, in its place, install an electronic air cleaner. This type of filter uses static electricity to remove even more sick-causing particles from the environment.
Pilot light. If your pilot light is not burning evenly, then your furnace will not run efficiently. Inspect your pilot light to ensure that it is mostly blue. If it is more yellow, and erratic in movement, then it may be that your air/fuel mixture needs to be adjusted. You can perform the adjustment yourself, as long as you have the furnace’s instruction booklet. Otherwise, it is a good idea to call out a professional to do the job.
As you can see, there are some very basic things you can do to keep your furnace maintained throughout the year, so that it can work to efficiently heat and cool your home year round. Use these tasks as a checklist when caring for your home’s furnace.
About the Author: Gricelda Spivack is a huge advocate of making home maintenace checklists with monthly and seasonal tasks. She checks her door sweeps every winter and fall (for wear and to protect her home) and checks her furnace at the end of each summer, far before it gets cold out.