Like most major appliances and systems in your house, the best way to keep your furnace running smoothly is to perform regular checkups. While you should always plan on having a furnace repair specialist in to perform an official annual checkup (the best time for this is in the early fall), you can take on the task of regular monthly maintenance yourself. Not only will this save you money in small repairs and breakdowns, but the more familiar you are with your HVAC or furnace system, the more confident you’ll feel about your home’s heating overall.
Maintaining Your Home’s Heating System
You don’t have to understand all the mechanics of your furnace in order to keep it in good repair. Most HVAC systems operate on a consistent cycle that includes the thermostat, the heater, the blower, and the ducts that move the air through your home. DIY maintenance only requires that you check to make sure each part is working properly and free of excessive dust.
- Start by inspecting the furnace. You shouldn’t see any sort of soot or residue, as these could be signs of faulty combustion.
- Turn up the thermostat. The furnace should turn itself on once the temperature in the house drops below the thermostat’s reading. The flames in the burner should start up in a steady, blue flame. Anything too yellow, orange, or flickering could indicate less-than-optimal combustion.
- Turn the thermostat back down and allow the furnace to cool down. (You might also want to turn off the circuit breaker to the furnace.) Once it’s safe to get in there, you should be able to remove the side panels to clean any dust, debris, or buildup that has accumulated inside the blower area.
- Depending on how comfortable you are with the furnace mechanics, you can check things like how well the blower fan is oiled, the condition of the fan belt, and the furnace filter. Changing the filter and replacing the fan belt can be done on your own, or you can note the condition and call a furnace repair company to let them know what you need.
- During the winter months, it’s a good habit to replace your filter once a month, so now is a good time to familiarize yourself with it. (You can also ask your furnace repair professional to show you how to do this.) Permanent filters can also be used, but they’ll need to be washed monthly to keep the furnace running at optimal levels.
- This is also a good time to check and update your Carbon Monoxide detectors. Replace batteries, as needed, and test the device to make sure it’s working properly.
Furnace maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated or time-intensive. By familiarizing yourself with your heating apparatus and ensuring it stays clean, you can do your part to reduce operating costs and prevent damages before they occur.