Winter is now in full swing, and your furnace is likely to get a greater workout in the next few months than it will the rest of the year. At All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, we are proud to offer our customers all the furnace services necessary to keep their homes warm and comfy all season long, from installations to repairs to maintenance. However, when it comes to furnace maintenance, there are a few tasks you should be performing on your own too, just to make sure your unit functions at peak efficiency all season long. Keep reading for your furnace maintenance checklist, courtesy of All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, and do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled HVAC technicians for all the heating services you need.
10 Furnace Maintenance Steps to Take This Winter
- Replace Your Air Filter: This should ideally be done at the beginning of the season, after your unit has been sitting around for months collecting dust. However, if you use your furnace consistently throughout the winter, you will want to change the filter again. Also, as a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to change HVAC filters once a season, or every three months.
- Scrub Burners/Flame Sensors: The burners and flame sensor are the parts of your furnace where fire is literally generated, meaning there is likely to be the most buildup of creosote and other byproducts in this region. You should scrub your burners and flame sensors once a year for this reason, so this buildup does not interfere with system operation or become a fire hazard. You can also hire a skilled heating tech, like one of our experts at All Pro, who can easily clean these components for you.
- Examine Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger is the part of your furnace that is responsible for separating clean air from the combustion process. When this component begins to crack or leak over time, gasses may start to seep into your home, posing a major health risk to your family. That’s why once a season, you should visually inspect your furnace’s heat exchanger, and call a technician right away if it looks damaged or worn down.
- Oil Fans: Your furnace’s inducer/blower fans need periodic lubrication to keep your system running efficiently and safely. Luckily, it is not hard to find oil for these products at a hardware store or online. And if you do not feel like oiling fans yourself, a skilled HVAC tech will easily be able to do this for you.
- Inspect Wiring: If your furnace’s wiring becomes loose or frayed, your system’s electronic controls will not be able to function as they are supposed to. It is a good idea to inspect your furnace’s wiring annually for this reason, and to look at it if your unit stops responding to programming. And speaking of programming…
- Check Thermostat: These next few steps have more to do with your larger HVAC system rather than your furnace specifically, but they are still extremely important. To wit, checking your thermostat is not only essential for successful heating unit operation, but successful air conditioning operation, too. In the winter, your thermostat should be set low, to help balance out the cost of running your system more. But if you find that you are not getting enough heat or getting too much heat no matter how much you play with the thermostat, you may have a problem on your hands.
- Wipe Down Ducts/Registers: Dusty ducts and registers lead to poor indoor air quality throughout your home. They also reduce airflow, so it is harder for your system to provide the heat you need. We suggest having your ducts cleaned twice a year, once during winter, and once during summer, to guarantee successful and cost-effective HVAC operation year-round. You can dust them off and wipe them down yourself, or hire a technician for a more comprehensive cleaning.
- Clean Furnace Humidifier: Furnace humidifiers, also known as whole-home humidifiers, are installed to help make sure your home does not get too dry, particularly in the winter when you are going to be running your system more. While they can be critical to achieving a comfortable home with better air quality, they can also cause problems when the reservoir of water they hold gets dirty. Make sure to clean your furnace humidifier once a year, wiping down the evaporator with soap and water or vinegar to remove mineral accumulation. This will prevent the humidifier from clogging and drying out the air passing through your furnace.
- Test Your CO Detector: Again, while this may not be related to your furnace directly, having a successful Carbon Monoxide detector is essential for maintaining a safe home—especially when it is winter and you are going to be running your furnace more. Test the CO detector seasonally to see if it is working, and replace the batteries ASAP if you find it is not. Remember, while modern furnaces are safer than ever, accidents can still happen, and a CO detector can save your life in the event of a gas leak.
- Schedule an Inspection: While we highly recommend doing as much furnace maintenance as you can yourself to save money, it is always a good idea to call a heating technician for a yearly inspection, just so you are absolutely sure your system is safe to operate and ready to keep your home comfortable when those winter temperatures start to drop.
To schedule a furnace inspection today call (909) 253-0664, or send us a message online. And don’t forget, you can contact our HVAC experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical 24/7 for emergency repairs.