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  4. Winter’s Coming: What You Need to Know About Your Furnace Before the Cold Hits
  • 3 Furnace Questions to Ask Yourself Before Winter

    Key maintenance tips to help keep your furnace in tip-top shape.

    Keep your family comfortable this winter with proper furnace care.
    • While you may not see or think about it every day, during colder months, your furnace is hard at work to distribute heat throughout your home. Here, some answers to common furnace questions—so you and your family aren’t left out in the cold.

    • How should I take care of my furnace?

      The lifespan of a furnace is anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but regular maintenance is key to keep it running as efficiently as possible*. Once a year (fall is a good time), hire a professional to:

      • Adjust blower control and supply-air temperature for optimum comfort.
      • Clean and oil the blower. A lack of lubrication can lead to friction in the motors, in turn using more electricity than necessary. 
      • Remove dirt, soot or corrosion from the furnace.
      • Check fuel input (see below for more on annual fuel utilization efficiency) and flame characteristics. The flame should be sharp and blue. A yellow, wavering flame means it’s time for an adjustment or cleaning.
      • Seal connections between the furnace and main ducts. On average, 20 percent of air is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts**.
    • How does a furnace filter work?

      One thing you can do yourself to ensure prime performance from your furnace is to be consistent with filter changes. A Filtrete™ Filter will capture particles from the air passing through it, protecting the furnace’s blower.

      A clean filter can also save you money on your utility bills, since your heating system won’t have to work as hard to provide the proper airflow to your home. Filtrete™ Filters should be replaced at least every three months.

    • When should I replace my furnace?

      A furnace’s effectiveness is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace, compared to the total annual fossil fuel energy consumed by the furnace.

      A high-efficiency system should perform at 90 to 98.5 percent AFUE, so when your furnace’s rating dips to 56 to 70 percent—meaning that only 56 to 70 percent of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home, while the remaining percentage escapes through the chimney or elsewhere—it’s time to replace***.