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Homeowner Tips For Caring For Your Furnace

Now that winter is here, there is a critical home maintenance task that needs to be cone to help your house stay cozy and warm – and that is to ensure that your furnace is in good working condition.

The furnace is one of your home’s most critical pieces of equipment. It generates warm air to keep your home heated during the coldest months of the year and works as an air conditioner as well to cool your home down during the summer. Fortunately, furnace maintenance often is quite easy.

The following is what you need to know when it comes to caring for your home’s furnace:

Furnace Maintenance That You Can Do Yourself

There is some routine maintenance that you can do on your own to help ensure that your furnace continues to run efficiently and safely.

Inspect and Change Your Air Filters

It is recommended by ENERGY STAR that you check the air filter on your furnace once a month and replace it whenever it looks dirty. If you have a dirty filter in your furnace then it can reduce efficiency and slow down air-flow. If too much dirt and dust build up inside then your furnace might stop working. ENERGY STAR says, at minimum, your filter should at least be changed every three months.

image showing comparison of a clean and dirty furnace filter

Tip: Furnace filters will work the best when they have a snug fit – so be sure to purchase a filter that is the right size to fit your furnace.

Keep Your Vents Clear and Clean

Before turning your heating system on for the winter, take the vent covers off of the ceilings, walls, and floors around your house. Vacuum the covers and duct openings. Small objects (such as toys), pet hair, dust, or even food may collect in there. That can end up blocking air-flow and cause your furnace to have to work harder than it should.

homeowner looking into furnace vent openings

Tip: According to ENERGY STAR, when you seal leaky air ducts using duct sealant or metal tape it can help to improve your heating system’s efficiency.

Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector Installed

Furnaces burn oil or gas to heat your house and therefore generate carbon monoxide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Battery-backup or battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on each level of your house to alert you if your furnace starts to leak this odourless, dangerous gas into your house. The detectors should be checked on a regular basis to ensure they are working properly.

carbon monoxide detector

Tip: Change the batteries in your detectors once a year at least. The ending of daylight saving times can be a reminder for when this task is done.

Professional Furnace Maintenance

ENERGY STAR reports that having an annual tune-up conducted by a professional is an essential part of keeping your furnace well-maintained, and it can help to prevent future expensive furnace repairs. A heating contractor can ensure that your thermostat is working properly and that the system is cycling off and on correctly. The professional will normally go through a series of tasks and checks, including the following:

Check the heat exchanger for cracks
Clean the burner
Inspect all of the gas connections
Oil all moving parts
Tighten any loose electrical connections

heating technician working on a thermostat

Tip: According to ENERGY STAR, you should call a contractor before the temperature starts to drop. Otherwise, you might find it hard to get into their busy schedule once winter hits.

After all of the above has been done, listen carefully for signs of trouble whenever your heating system is operating. If your furnace is rattling, squeaking, or making any other strange noises, it could be a sign that your unit needs to be replaced, that the furnace is due for a cleaning, or that a part has come loose. If you notice any strange sounds, call a professional for assistance. We hope you’ve found these homeowner tips for furnace care helpful.

Your furnace is essential to keeping your house comfortable all winter long. Taking care of routine furnace maintenance tasks can help to ensure that your furnace stays in good working condition so that you stay cozy and warm all winter long.