The heating system within your home is among the most important elements.
Neglecting the servicing of your furnace for too long could result in expensive heating costs, potentially harmful air quality inside the home, and possible system breakdowns during an inopportune time of the season.
Tips For Home Heating Maintenance
Furnace maintenance should be performed every year when the temperatures are still warm. Proper heater maintenance will ensure maximum output with energy efficiency and no risk for harmful emissions. Not servicing your system regularly can potentially lead to failure when heating is a priority for you and your family. The furnace works the hardest on the coldest nights and this could be the time it decides to stop functioning. These tips will assist in maintaining the system so it can run smoothly before the cold winter weather sets in.
Before any type of maintenance work on the furnace, you should visually inspect the furnace. With a gas heating system, the vent pipe will be fastened securely at an angle. Other tubing including drainage tubes that serve the air conditioning unit will be fastened securely also. The flexible tube used for the gas line should have no aroma resembling that of rotten eggs which would indicate a gas leak.
Drainage Tube Clearance
Propane or natural gas heating systems will produce water while heating. This is released as exhaust steam for the most part, but the remainder will collect in a drip pain from the power exhaust manifold shared by the air conditioning. Water can fill the manifold if this drainage tube were to clog and the flame sensor would shut the furnace down. Detach the drainage tube from the manifold and blow compressed air through the tubing and pipe as a way to keep it clear of clogs. A cup of white vinegar poured through the pipe and tubing will keep a film from building up.
Thermostat Wire Inspection
Shut the power off and remove the furnace doors to begin the furnace maintenance. Give the wires to the furnace a slight pull to make sure they are taught and fitted properly.
Vacuum And Dust
Dirt, dust, and debris can make the system work subpar or cause it to not function at all. To keep it clean, use a soft paint brush against the inner elements of the furnace to break up the debris without causing damage to the interior of the unit. Once it is loosened, vacuum the dust with a portable machine. Read here for details on how to keep your system operating properly.
Cleaning The Flame Sensor
A gas furnace will not function if the flame sensor is dirty. This should be cleaned at least one time every year. To clean the sensor, unscrew it from the bottom of the unit and use an emery cloth while holding the sensor from the bottom. Once finished, replace and reinstall the door.
Various Systems That Need To Be Maintained
A majority of homes in North America use propane, natural gas, or electric furnaces, but there are other varieties of systems including geothermal or air heat pumps, steam radiator heat, baseboard heaters, radiant heat, among others. Radiant heating and some others require virtually no maintenance. The others such as heating pumps will need regular servicing at least one time every year as with the air conditioning. If you’re unsure of the type of maintenance plan your system should have, contact an HVAC professional to give you guidance on your particular unit.
Maintaining The Filter For Your Heating System
Filter changing is critical to make sure that the heating system and air conditioning perform optimally and to increase longevity. It is the ideal way to save expenses on energy bills. Dirty filters are found to be the biggest reason for equipment problems. This can lead to:
- Airflow restriction adding strain to the fan motor which will cause the motor to burn out over time. This could potentially lead to the unit overheating or overall equipment failure.
- Forces the fan motor to work harder causing more energy use. This could potentially damage the system and significantly raise energy costs.
- Indoor air quality can be drastically decreased causing aggravation to allergies, illnesses, or asthma.
- Ductwork can become clogged with debris reducing the lifespan of the equipment. This will lead to potential expenses for repairs or possible replacement.
Likely, the heating system’s filter has been replaced with the last inspection, but it needs to be done every month or at least every three months unless the manufacturer instructions indicate otherwise. If smokers or pets are living in the home, the filters will need changing more regularly than households without.
You should mark your calendar when you have cleaned the filters and the next time it is due to be changed. Some find it simpler to replace the filters at the start of each month. Aside from the filter, the area surrounding the furnace needs to be kept clean and free of any type of obstacle, particularly anything combustible. This prevents damage to the system, the function of the unit, or your home, and allows for smooth operation.
Professional Services For Mechanical Servicing
Any kind of mechanical servicing of your heating system should be handled by a reputable professional versed in your specific unit. Even if there are instances where you feel you can do a majority of the maintenance alone, it is still wise to hire a heating professional to thoroughly inspect your unit to make sure that it is functioning properly. An annual preventative maintenance inspection performed by a skilled service professional will extend the life of your heating system and keep it performing at its best.
The ideal way to keep the furnace efficient and reliable is through a regular inspection before the cold weather hits in the fall to save yourself added cost, time, and any frustration.