Your furnace seems to be faithfully heating your new home, so there’s no need to pay any attention to it, right? No! Furnaces require maintenance.
If your furnace doesn’t receive regular maintenance, it will incur unnecessary wear and tear. In addition, it will use excessive amounts of energy, and therefore cost you, the homeowner, more money over time.
But what kind of maintenance does a furnace require? We’re going to tell you that below. Without further ado, here are 9 furnace maintenance tips for new homeowners.
1. Replace the Air Filter
The most important thing to remember is to replace your furnace’s air filter. This is a simple yet highly effective way to keep excess dust and residue out of your furnace and duct system. If you don’t replace your filter regularly, it will become inundated with dust, and thus put substantial amounts of undue stress on your HVAC system as a whole.
In turn, your furnace will have to work much harder than it would otherwise. In addition, it will incur a great deal of undue wear and tear. This results in higher energy costs and a shorter furnace lifespan.
Fortunately, replacing an air filter is easy. It’s as simple as pulling out the old one and sliding in the new one. Do this every 2 to 3 months, and your furnace should be good to go.
Note, if you have furry animals in your home, you should consider making a change monthly. The additional fur could more quickly block up your filter, necessitating more frequent changes.
2. Clean Your Ducts
Not only should you replace your air filter regularly but clean your air ducts as well. Generally speaking, air ducts should be cleaned every 3 to 5 years.
If you don’t clean your air ducts, they’ll become blocked up by dust and other debris. This will restrict airflow to certain parts of your home, resulting in temperature variations and energy efficiency issues.
To clean your air ducts, you’ll have to take them apart and vacuum them out. Note, though, that a conventional vacuum won’t do. You’ll need a large and high-powered duct vacuum instead.
This is why, when it comes to duct cleaning, it’s best to hand the task off to a seasoned HVAC company. They’ll thoroughly clean your ducts to ensure that you’re receiving optimal furnace benefits.
3. Vacuum Your Vents
In between duct cleanings, you’re strongly advised to regularly vacuum your vents. This will clear dust from the vent openings and allow heated air to enter your home at full force. It will also prevent many dust particles from entering your indoor air environment, thereby helping to maintain good air quality.
There’s nothing too complex about this. Simply remove the vent cover and then place some sort of vacuum over it. A handheld vacuum will be the easiest option with which to achieve this.
4. Clean the Combustion Chamber
If you want your furnace to work as efficiently as possible, and if you want it to break down as little as possible, you need to keep its combustion chamber clean. This is where gas combusts. Therefore, it gets dirty very quickly.
To clean the combustion chamber, you must first shut off the gas and electric components that power the furnace. Once these are shut off, open the door to the combustion chamber and start vacuuming it out. Then, use a hard-thistle brush to scrape away some of the residues that exist within the chamber.
Finally, check the inside of the combustion chamber for holes. If these exist, cover them with foil tape. Once you’ve done this, your combustion chamber should be good to go for another 6 months or so.
Close up the door, turn the power sources back on and your furnace will run like new again. If you need assistance with any of this, call up your local HVAC company.
5. Check Out the Flue Pipe
Every gas furnace has a pipe that leads outside of the home known as a flue pipe. The purpose of this pipe is to evacuate the carbon monoxide that the furnace creates. If this pipe becomes clogged, or if it forms holes, said carbon monoxide can flow into the home, creating a dangerous and maybe even deadly situation.
This is why, every 6 months or so, you need to check your flue pipe. Not only should you check it for holes on its exterior but you should also take off its cap and look for blockages within. If blockages or holes exist, they’ll need to be removed or patched, respectively.
In either of these cases, you’re advised to utilize the services of a seasoned HVAC technician. They have all of the tools and resources needed to successfully tend to an impaired flue pipe.
6. Inspect the Tension Belt
Every furnace contains a moving belt known as a tension belt. Over time, as it sees more use, this belt deteriorates. Eventually, it deteriorates to the point that it’s loose or broken.
At this point, you’ll need to replace the tension belt. If you don’t, your furnace will either run roughly (thus taking on unnecessary wear and tear) or not run at all.
Therefore, every 6 months or so, you should inspect your tension belt to determine its current state. Then, if it’s thoroughly deteriorated, and if you’re capable, you should replace it. If you need assistance with replacing it, just call up your local furnace repair company.
7. Be Cognizant of Strange Noises
Another of our furnace maintenance tips is to be cognizant of strange noises. If your furnace is making noises that are out of the ordinary, there’s almost certainly something awry. The quicker you tend to this “something”, the less impact it will have on your furnace over time.
Now, what kind of noises should you be listening out for? Grinding noises, banging noises, squealing noises, and slapping noises.
Banging noises tend to indicate a combustion issue. Squealing noises often come about due to loose or broken belts. Grinding, slapping, and scraping noises are indicative of blower issues.
If you hear any of these, you should bring an HVAC repair technician in as soon as possible. They’ll discover the source of the noise and then make all necessary repairs based on that discovery.
8. Keep a Carbon Monoxide Detector Running
When you have a gas furnace in your home, there’s always a risk of carbon monoxide leaking into your residence. Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas that can lead to death if inhaled. Carbon monoxide poisoning takes only minutes of exposure.
Therefore, it’s vital that you keep a carbon monoxide detector running in close proximity to your furnace. This way, you’ll know the second that carbon monoxide starts leaking into your home.
If your detector ever sounds, you should get out of your home immediately. You should then turn off the gas valve for your home.
Once you’ve done that, you should call your local HVAC technician and have them come in for an inspection. They’ll find the source of the leak and then repair it as necessary.
Be sure to test your CO detector weekly. Also, try to keep a battery replacement routine in place. This will lessen the risk of dysfunctionality.
9. Have Your Furnace Tuned Up
Despite any of your own maintenance efforts, you’re still advised to have your furnace tuned up professionally every year. A tune-up will ensure that your furnace is operating to the best of its capabilities. Your HVAC technician will facilitate those small bits of maintenance that fall through the cracks, thereby giving your furnace optimal performance.
It will also give your HVAC technician an opportunity to inspect your furnace. This way, if there is any damage present, your HVAC technician will be able to remedy it early in its existence. If you wait for this damage to grow worse, it can cost a lot more money to repair in the long run.
Note that many HVAC companies offer maintenance programs. These are like subscriptions in which you pay a fee yearly and receive maintenance services once or twice throughout the year. Some companies even include discounts on other services.
Need Help With Furnace Maintenance in San Francisco?
As you can see, there are a number of things you need to do to your furnace in order to keep it running optimally. If you don’t properly maintain your furnace, it will cost you in terms of both energy usage and your furnace’s lifespan.
Need help with furnace maintenance in San Francisco? If so, look no further than San Francisco Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re well-versed in the maintenance of furnaces and will do everything necessary to ensure that yours is working optimally.
Contact us today to schedule a maintenance appointment!