It’s officially autumn in the Twin Cities, which means many households are — or will be — cranking up the furnace when the sun goes down. And as winter creeps ever closer, that furnace will get a serious workout for months on end. To ensure your heating system functions optimally throughout the cold winter months and lasts as long as it should, routine maintenance is critical. The experts at Dust Doctors share a few simple tips for maximizing the performance and lifespan of your furnace below.

1. Regularly Change Air Filters

Everyone knows it’s important to routinely change HVAC air filters, but how many people actually heed that recommendation? Do you?

Dirty air filters aren’t just gross; they can negatively affect your indoor air quality and ultimately, shorten the life of your furnace. So if you tend to neglect filter changes, now is the time to kick that bad habit to the curb.

While the life of your filters depends largely on the conditions inside your home, most filters should be changed at three-month intervals. If you smoke indoors or own pets, you may need to change them more often. Just five minutes of your time can make a serious difference in the life of your HVAC system. 

2. Ensure Your Home Has Adequate Insulation

If your home isn’t well insulated, it will allow warm air to escape through doors, windows, your attic, and even gaps in your floorboards. And when warm air continually escapes your home, your furnace must work harder than necessary to maintain a constant indoor temperature.

Ultimately, the additional strain on your furnace will diminish its life, which is why adequate household insulation is so important. Quick and simple ways you can improve your indoor insulation include:

●        Ensuring your windows and doors are properly sealed

●        Adding insulation to your attic

●        Inspecting your ductwork and sealing any leaks

●        Installing energy-efficient windows and doors

Because the majority of indoor-outdoor heat exchange occurs through windows and doors, properly sealing those areas should be your primary focus. Since warm air naturally rises, be sure to assess your attic insulation as well. If it appears your attic is inadequately insulated, contact a contractor to take care of that job. 

3. Schedule Routine Air Duct Cleaning

As your HVAC system continually re-circulates your indoor air, it pulls in plenty of tiny particles, including:

●        Pet dander and hair

●        Pollen

●        Dust and dust mites

●        Dirt and other outdoor debris

●        Mold and mildew spores

●        Chemical residues

Those particles end up inside your ductwork, where they can cling to the interior walls, clog up the system, and diminish its overall performance. Fortunately, professional duct cleaning solves that problem.

With routine duct cleaning, you’ll enjoy debris-free ductwork and more importantly, freely flowing air through your HVAC system. When your furnace isn’t bogged down by an excessive amount of particulate matter, it will not only function better but will also last longer.

To help keep your duct system as clean as possible between appointments, check out our tips for maintaining ducts between cleanings.

4. Schedule Annual HVAC Inspections and Furnace Cleaning

Many homeowners make the mistake of neglecting their furnaces until something goes wrong — don’t be like them! To ensure your furnace is in proper working condition, a little preventative maintenance goes a long way, and scheduling annual HVAC inspections requires only a minute or two of your time.

A professional inspection will help you identify minor furnace issues before they become glaring problems, and ultimately, reduce or eliminate the need for costly, major repairs.

In addition to annual inspections, scheduling yearly furnace cleaning can also go a long way toward extending the life of your HVAC system. Because your furnace can accumulate plenty of dust and other debris with continual operation, routine cleaning is essential to maintain optimal performance. Not only will furnace cleaning help the system function more efficiently, but it will also help prolong its life and even better, reduce your monthly energy bills.

5. Tend to Necessary Furnace Repairs Promptly

If you ever notice your furnace appears to be having issues, schedule an appointment with a qualified furnace repair specialist right away. Don’t wait around to see if the problem resolves itself. It won’t. 

Whether your furnace starts making odd noises or seems to heat your home unevenly or inadequately, these issues can cause more serious problems down the road. The quicker you get your unit diagnosed and repaired, the lower your chances of dealing with more expensive repairs in the future.

Think your furnace could use some professional help? Here are three common subtle warning signs that a furnace needs repairs.

6. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re currently using a standard thermostat, your furnace may be working harder than necessary. That’s especially true if you’re not at home for several hours during the day, but your furnace is still cranking along with full throttle.

Since the lifespan of your unit is partially determined by how hard it must work, a standard thermostat that always keeps the same temperature setting may not be ideal for your situation. A programmable thermostat, on the other hand, will automatically adjust its temperature to your pre-programmed settings.

To decrease stress on your furnace, you can set the device to automatically keep a lower temperature during the hours you’re away from home. Setting it to a higher temperature an hour or so before you typically arrive back home will help ensure your house feels comfortable when you walk in the door.

Smart thermostats are another great option. These devices are both programmable and controllable from a remote location, so you can adjust your home’s temperature from your smartphone no matter where you happen to be.

Dust Doctors: Your Twin Cities Source for Comprehensive HVAC Cleaning

At Dust Doctors, it’s our goal to help you breathe easier and prolong the life of your HVAC system. When you need annual furnace cleaning or duct cleaning, don’t hesitate to schedule service with our team. We’ve proudly served Twin Cities homeowners for over a decade, and you won’t find our specialized cleaning methods and tools anywhere else.

To learn more, get a free quote, or schedule an appointment, call our Little Canada, MN office today at 651-319-9777 or send us a message, and we’ll be in touch.

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