Fall Into Better Furnace Maintenance Habits
Tips to protect systems, save energy
As summer comes to an end, the fall season brings cooler temperatures and climate changes across the country signaling many homeowners to fire up their furnaces. Before switching the “on” button, the home’s heating system should be inspected and repaired.
Common problems can be as simple as needing to replace a dirty filter or clean the vents, as most HVAC problems are due to the accumulation of dirt and debris. Others may be more serious and costly, requiring a qualified technician.
The good news is there are several do-it-yourself tasks homeowners can do to maintain the heating system. Here a few common problems that may cause your heating system to run less efficiently:
- Dirty Duct Work: Many HVAC failures are caused by dirt and debris accumulation. Keeping your air ducts clean will reduce the impact of debris build up on the furnace filter and HVAC system. Have the air ducts professionally cleaned every three to five years.
- Blocked Vents: Test for blockages by turning the furnace on for ten minutes and holding your hand under the vent hood. If you notice a lack of air blowing through a specific vent, there may be a blockage. This is often caused by pieces of paper, dirt and dust, pet hair or older filter pieces caught in the vent grill. Refer to your system manual for instructions on how to access the grill to remove this debris. Also, open and shut registers to ensure they work properly, and make sure you’re not blocking the airflow by placing furniture and rugs in front of and over the vents.
- Filthy Filter: You should check your filter monthly and replace it at least every season. A dirty filter will slow down airflow, causing the system to work harder to keep you warm. Use a Filtrete Micro Allergen Reduction Filter to balance airflow and particle capture for up to 90 days. It may also protect the furnace components from dirt and other airborne particles, which can cause damage to furnace components and decrease energy efficiency.
- Flue Pipes: Flue pipes are metal pipes that carry smoke and noxious fumes out of a building or home and into the open air outside the home. Over time, these pipes can become cracked or worn. Inspect these pipes for any weak spots or rust and repair immediately to prevent harmful gases to enter the home. Regular cleaning can prevent cracking.
- Belts and Fan Motors: If your furnace uses a blower, check the belts on the blower and motor. If the belts are worn, replace them with new ones of the same type and size and remember to keep them clean and lubricated. Faulty belts and bearings can cause airflow problems, causing the furnace to overheat or contributing to poor heating control.