Proper Furnace Maintenance Reduces Energy Consumption and Increases the Life of your Comfort System
Furnaces are wonderful pieces of machinery to have when they work. When they don’t, it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s wrong with them and there are high costs involved in getting them fixed. To prevent most major disasters with your furnace some simple maintenance is in order.
First, make sure you at least inspect your furnace filters monthly. Most disposable filters should be changed once a month although some may last longer than that. Any permanent filters should be washed and rinsed monthly.
Secondly, install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home. If you already have them installed, test them monthly. Carbon monoxide in large amounts is fatal. Carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in 25 states.
Before doing anything else to your furnace, you should turn off the power and the fuel supply. This will prevent any harm coming to you during the course of your maintenance. If you are unsure of how to relight a pilot light, leave the fuel supply on but be very, very careful while doing anything to your furnace.
If your furnace has a belt-driven component, test the belt. Belts should not be cracked or frayed. If they are, replace them. Belt-driven systems will also need to be oiled yearly. A few drops of oil should do the trick.
Reset the damper as the season changes. The damper should be clearly marked and easy to set in the right place. Dampers in other parts of your home will probably need adjusting throughout the year in order to keep your home comfortable.
Check the burner flames. This is the one occasion where it’s okay to leave the power and fuel supply on as it’s hard to look at flames if there aren’t any. Simply remove the combustion chamber door and look at the flames. The flames should be fairly even and blue. If they’re yellow, you’re either breathing on them or there’s something wrong with the burners. At this point, call in a professional. Do not adjust the burners yourself.
Cleaning the blower is pretty simple. Carefully remove the blower from the furnace. Vacuum carefully and thoroughly, being sure not to jostle any wires too much. If you’re not sure you can get the blower vacuumed well enough, don’t do it. An improper cleaning can unbalance the system.
Full furnace inspections are the one thing you should call in a professional for. This should be done at least once a year.
Knowing When to Let Go
Taking proper care of your furnace will help it have a long life. However, your furnace will eventually give out and it will be time for a new one. Most furnaces will last anywhere from 18-22 years if properly maintained.
Furnaces prone to problems or with faulty heat-exchangers need to be replaced. Older furnaces that are costing you lots of money should be replaced. Newer furnaces are often more efficient than older models and are easier to take care of, too.
If you have any additional questions, problems or need to schedule an inspection, contact a professional at Northern’s One Hour air conditioning and heating company in Minnesota.
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