Before it gets cold outside and you are going to be relying on your furnace all the time to keep it warm in the home, you need to get it prepared. There are a few fall furnace maintenance tips that every homeowner should know. If you follow these tips, you can prevent a costly breakdown and your furnace will be working at its maximum capacity all winter long.
#1 Replace the Air Filters
Before you start using your furnace during the winter season, you should replace the furnace’s air filters which is very simple to do. Locate the filter and pull it out. Next, just slide the new filter into the slot. If you have a flat screen, you should consider an upgrade. There are a few filters that will increase the energy efficiency, helps force the air out, and replacing the filters can improve the air quality in your home.
- Pleated filter
- HEPA filter
- Electrostatic filter
#2 Clean Out Your vents and Ducts
Before turning on your furnace for the first time, you should make sure that the vents and ducts are free of dirt and debris by cleaning them. To do this, take off the vent covers with a screwdriver. The best way to clean out the ducts is to vacuum them with the extension hose of your vacuum cleaner.
#3 Inspect the Blower Belt for Cracks
If your blower belt is cracked, it can make the furnace work harder to blow the air out which can result in a higher energy bill during the winter. To inspect the blower belts, you should:
- At the main circuit breaker in the home, turn off the power to the furnace.
- Remove the cover of the air handler with a screwdriver.
- When you look inside, you may see more than one belt. The blower belt will be the biggest one.
- If the belt is cracked, either replace it yourself or contact a professional.
#4 Adjust Your Thermostat
To save on your heating costs, you should turn down your heat at night and during the day when there is nobody home. It is best if you have a programmable thermostat to do this for you. If you don’t, you should consider an upgrade. According to the Consumer Energy Center, when you have a programmable thermostat to turn the heat down automatically when nobody is home and during the night, you can save 20 to 75 percent on your heating bill.
#5 Inspect the Outdoor Exhaust Flue
Before you turn on your furnace for the first time, go outside and check the exhaust flue. During the summer, it can become obstructed with branches, leaves, and animal nests which should all be cleaned out before you run your furnace.
#6 Clean the Area Around the Furnace
Clean off any dirt and debris that has collected around the furnace. Also, you should wipe the furnace down with a wet cloth to make sure that it is clean and free of any dust that had built up over the summer.
#7 Vent Maintenance
Before you turn on your furnace, go through the home and make sure that all of the vents are open. Be sure that is no furniture or clutter in the way that will keep the heat from flowing through the vents. If anything is blocking them, the furnace will need to work even harder to heat up the house which can cause your heating bill to go up.
#8 Have Your Furnace Inspected
To be sure that your furnace is running at maximum capacity, it is a good idea to have it inspected regularly. If there are any problems in the furnace, they can be repaired before it gets cold outside which can prevent a costly and inconvenient breakdown in the middle of winter.
Furnace maintenance is critical, not only for the cost of your energy bills but the life of your furnace as well. You should make it a yearly routine to maintain your furnace before you Use it for the first time.