If this is your first winter in your own home, it's smart to familiarize yourself with how to maintain your furnace. Of course, you can always hire a furnace cleaning and repair pro for annual service, but you should understand how to keep your unit running smoothly.
Here are furnace care tips that every new homeowner should know.
1. Schedule Annual Furnace Maintenance Service
Every furnace needs routine cleaning and maintenance to function at its best. Ideally, your furnace should be cared for once a year.
Even if you feel comfortable cleaning your unit, you should still schedule an inspection and maintenance with a professional who can identify potential furnace problems you may not be able to detect and recommend necessary pre-emptive measures.
Not sure who to hire? Check out our blog, How to Find the Best Local Furnace Repair Service.
2. Know Where the Pilot Light Is
If you have a gas-powered furnace, it's a good idea to locate your pilot light if you don't already know where to find it. That way, you can double-check whether the flame is burning if your furnace ever has an issue heating your home. More importantly, you should know where that light is so you can keep an eye on its color.
What color are you looking for? Here's what you should know:
● A blue flame is good: It means your furnace is using the correct ratio of gas to air.
● A yellow flame is bad: It indicates too much air in the gas line, which can result from a line leak or a faulty thermocouple.
● An orange flame is bad: It means your furnace is burning too much gas and not enough air, which could result in potentially deadly carbon monoxide levels inside your home.
3. Know the Age of Your Furnace
If you don't know how old your furnace is, try to find the manufacturing info, which may be located on the unit. If you have a manual, look there, too.
Most furnaces have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years, after which they experience a significant drop in efficiency and typically require replacement. If you know how close your furnace is to the end of its life, you'll know when you'll likely need a new unit and can budget accordingly.
4. Change Air Filters Regularly
Generally, furnace filters should be changed every 30 to 90 days or according to the package directions.
Swapping out those filters regularly helps keep your furnace (and air conditioner!) as efficient as possible and helps prevent an excessive amount of dust and debris from entering your ductwork.
5. Avoid Shutting Vents
Even if you want to keep a particular room cooler than the other rooms in your home, don't shut the vents in that room completely. Keep them cracked just a bit to prevent excessive air pressure from building inside the duct system.
When too much pressure builds in your air ducts, it can force your furnace to work harder than normal, reducing efficiency. And the harder your furnace has to work, the shorter its lifespan ultimately becomes.
Want to save money on your heating bills this winter? Then check out these other ways you can
boost your furnace efficiency.
6. Do a Thermostat Test
One of the most effective and easy things you can do to get familiar with your heating system is to understand how your thermostat functions and do scheduled checks to ensure it's working correctly. Periodically set the heat to the desired temperature and make sure that it comes on as programmed.
At the same time, if the system comes with an emergency heat function as a backup, make sure this unit is responding correctly, too.
7. Keep the Outside of the Unit Clear
First and foremost, you want to keep the unit's exterior clear. This means no objects within four to six feet of the furnace, and be sure you have a direct path to it if it needs a repair or the pilot light is out.
Also, remember that if your furnace is in a separate area and has a designated room, keep flammable liquids and materials out of the space and a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.
8. Learn About Your Ductwork
Your ductwork is a central component of the entire system because it pushes the air through your home to keep you heated through the cold winter months in Minnesota. It can be helpful to check out areas like your basement, attic, crawl space, or anywhere else with the ductwork installed and get familiar with how it should look and function.
A visual inspection will help make maintaining your ducts easier by ensuring that there are no holes, that the insulation is in good condition, and knowing when it's time to schedule a cleaning.
Schedule Furnace Cleaning in the Twin Cities
Is your furnace due for annual service? If so, get in touch with our team at Dust Doctors! We specialize in furnace cleaning and repair and have proudly served homeowners throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro for more than a decade.
To get a service quote or schedule an appointment, call us today at 651-319-9777 or request a quote online, and we'll get in touch!
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