Winter is around the corner, meaning it’s almost time to fire up the furnace to keep the cold at bay. Furnaces are a staple for most households and have gotten families all over the country through some chilly winters.
Still, most homeowners are guilty of neglecting their furnaces until they break down completely. Some would love to keep their furnaces in tip-top shape but just don’t know how to. If you belong to either group, you’re in the right place.
Our ultimate furnace maintenance checklist will ensure that your furnace remains in pristine shape throughout the winter. So please join us today as we look at everything you need to do to keep your furnace working at its optimum.
Replace Your Filters
It’s a good idea to replace your furnace filters every 90 days to maintain proper indoor air quality. The filter is responsible for trapping dust, hair, pet fur, and other contaminants that compromise your air quality. They also protect your furnace from structural damage that these particles may cause.
If you don’t replace the filters, the dirt and debris may clog them up and restrict airflow. This not only ruins your air quality but also forces your furnace to work harder, leading to increased energy bills. What’s more, contaminants like black mold could be incredibly detrimental to your health.
To replace your filters, all you have to do is unscrew the old filter and pop in the new one. To be on the safe side, always buy the same size filter as your current one.
Vacuum Around the Furnace
You should also vacuum the area around your furnace to keep it clean and free from dust. A clean furnace runs more efficiently and can save you a bundle in energy costs. Pay particular attention to parts of your blower smothered in dust and debris because they break down easily.
Vacuuming your furnace also ensures it lasts longer because dust and debris increase the wear and tear of furnace parts. This lowers its life span significantly, forcing you to replace your furnace prematurely.
Calibrate Your Thermostat
Failing to calibrate your thermostat could see you overspending on energy every month. You need to calibrate your thermostat, so your HVAC turns on only when needed. Calibrating your thermostat is a tad complicated, but here’s a summary of the process.
Remove the cover and check whether the thermostat is level with the wall for the switch to work as it should.
Find a small disc with markings at the center of the thermostat known as the heat anticipator. You’ll see a lever arm that points to the calibration marks.
Adjust the lever depending on the length of furnace cycles, set the lever on “LONGER” if the cycles are too short. Push it away from” Longer” if the cycles are too long.
Leave the thermostat on for about two to three hours and to check whether you’ve made appropriate adjustments.
If the cycles are still too short or long, you’ll have to repeat the process until you get it right. If you’re having trouble calibrating your thermostat, you should consider calling an HVAC contractor to do it for you. Also, consider getting a smart thermostat that you can calibrate with your smartphone.
Check the Control Valve
Furnaces have control valves to ensure safety, but they’re prone to malfunctioning. If your furnace doesn’t produce sufficient heat, you probably have an issue with the control valve. For gas furnaces, you’ll find the control valve on the supply line.
Check the control valve and confirm whether it’s in the on position. That’s the only way that gas can enter your furnace. If your furnace doesn’t get gas, it’s unable to produce any heat.
Inspect the Tension Belt
Once you’re done with the control valve, the next thing to check is the tension belt. If the belt looks tattered and frayed, it’s time to replace it.
Apart from checking and replacing the belt, also look at the pulley alignment. Make sure the pulleys line up correctly. If they don’t, make the necessary adjustments.
Check the Blower Motor and Fan
The blower motor is what circulates and directs air to vents. Excessive dust can stop the blower motor from working as it should. Check for any dust in the blower motor, and if present, clean it thoroughly while cleaning the heat exchanger.
Before cleaning the blower or heat exchanger, ensure you turn off the heater completely. Next, remove the blower door and blower switch too. Using a screwdriver, take out the fan from the cabinet, taking care not to hurt your fingers or cut the wiring.
Use a vacuum to get rid of the dust in the cabinet. Take a toothbrush and also clean the motor and blower wheel. It’s also a wise move to lubricate the motor while you’re at it.
Investigate That Burning Smell
Don’t ignore the funny burning smell from your furnace when you first turn it on. It might be the dust burning away, but it could also indicate a much serious issue, especially if the smell persists.
Don’t store any paint or other chemicals in the furnace room. Fumes from these paints and chemicals can ruin the heat exchanger, leading to costly repairs. The fumes could also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Arrange a Professional HVAC Tune-up
The last thing on your checklist should be to organize a professional HVAC checkup. The earlier you do so, the better it is for you. Don’t wait until winter sets in to start dialing an HVAC service company.
Ensure You Get Everything on Your Furnace Maintenance Checklist
Now that we’ve highlighted everything that should be on your furnace maintenance checklist, it’s on you to ensure you check everything on the list. Don’t forget to start your furnace maintenance early enough so that winter doesn’t catch you by surprise. Alternatively, you can hire a reputable HVAC contractor to ensure your furnace is in immaculate condition for your home heating.
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