Your furnace is an investment. Whether it’s brand new or getting up in years, you want it to last as long as possible before you have to make that investment again. The problem is that the only time we tend to think about our furnaces is when something goes wrong. And by then it’s usually too late.
So if you want to extend the life of your furnace, take these simple precautions to keep it running at optimal performance, save money on energy bills and be comfortable all winter long.
Change Filters Diligently
Changing air filters ranks right up there with replacing smoke detector batteries. It’s something everyone knows they should do, but something few people actually schedule. Paper filters need to be replaced every three to six months, but somewhere between baseball games, Christmas shopping, and vacation planning, the task tends to fall by the wayside.
Do yourself, your wallet and your furnace a favor and add a calendar item – whether you prefer the paper version or a smart phone app – to replace filters on a schedule. This is especially important if you have pets, keep your fan running even when the heat isn’t on, burn candles or cook a lot.
Clogged filters can trap air inside the system, forcing it to shut down before it reaches the desired temperature. That’s known as “short cycling” and it puts excessive wear and tear on the system that can result in costly repairs and the need for early replacement.
Plus, particles like dust, pet hair, and other debris can get caught in the system and wreak havoc with the components.
Dirty filters are not only bad for your furnace, they can be bad for your health. All that gunk will only end up recycled back into the air unless it’s removed.
The bottom line: get on top of those filters and it will be far better for the system and for you.
Get Your Ducts Cleaned
You don’t need to do it every three months – but it’s a wise thing to do every three years or so, especially if you’ve fallen off the wagon in the filter-changing department.
Dust, debris, pet dander, mildew, the occasional wayward rodent – all of these things can end up in your ductwork and have a pretty negative effect on your HVAC system’s efficiency and your health.
If you’ve moved into a new construction and there’s a lot of sawdust floating around, if you’ve got pets who seem to shed no matter what you do, if you see any type of insect or rodent entering your ductwork, if you suspect mold, or if you see (or smell) any kind of contaminants being recycled into a room when the blower is on, then it’s time to look into duct cleaning.
This is especially important if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or a respiratory condition. And it’s important if you want to keep your furnace and HVAC system operating smoothly.
Lower The Thermostat When You’re Out
You probably do this to save money, but did you know it can also extend the life of your furnace? You may suspect the obvious way that this can be a benefit. By lowering the temperature, you allow the system to work less and that puts less wear and tear on it overall.
But there’s a hidden benefit: running the system less means filters stay cleaner. That doesn’t mean you can go longer without changing them! But it does mean that if you have pet hair, dander or dust, it’s less likely to get pulled into the system all day long.
These days it’s hard to find a thermostat that isn’t programmable, so if you don’t have one, then installing one is an inexpensive alternative to replacing your furnace before its time.
Follow A Regular Maintenance Schedule
If changing filters is a forgotten task, you can imagine where “schedule maintenance” ranks on a busy person’s to-do list. Sadly, a neglected furnace is your fastest path to replacement. On the flip side, annual maintenance can go a long way to keeping your energy bills under control, ensuring your comfort and prolonging the life of your furnace.
During routine maintenance, each part of the system is inspected, cleaned and tested to be sure that everything is fully operational. Motor bearings are lubricated, fan coils are cleaned, drain lines are kept free of mold and buildup, and yes, air filters are changed. That still doesn’t get you off the hook – remember, your furnace maintenance is annual and those filters need to be replaced every three months. But at least you know a professional is taking care of the essentials.
Professional maintenance is one of the surest things you can do to improve efficiency and extend the life of your furnace. It will reduce the need for repairs and alert you early to anything that could be an issue so that you’re not caught by surprise on the coldest day of the year or in the middle of a holiday while Great Aunt Matilda is freezing in the guest room.
And if you have a maintenance contract with your HVAC company then you don’t even need to remember to schedule it. They’ll remind you when it’s time and you can simply make the call.
If you’d rather replace your furnace when you’re ready, and not when it suddenly kicks the bucket due to neglect, then take these simple steps to help it live a long, efficient life. If you have questions or need help or maintenance, then give us a call or contact us online. Your comfort is our priority!