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Maintaining Your Furnace This Winter: Helpful Tips

December 22, 2014

Furnace maintenance this winter is an important task to ensure you’re staying safe and warm during the cold. As one of the most essential appliances during cold seasons, the furnace is typically one of the most reliable appliances, but it still requires some basic maintenance and vigilance if it is an older appliance. You should take steps to have the furnace inspected and/or repaired during the fall before severe cold hits, but it is never too late to get your furnace into top condition–and if it is lacking in something, now is the time to make the repairs. Here are a few helpful furnace maintenance tips this winter.

Change the Filters

Perhaps the most important regular maintenance task for furnaces is a simple filter change. Filters accumulate a lot of dirt, dander, hair, and other particulate matter and need to be changed every couple of months to keep from compromising your indoor air quality. Clogged filters will also make the furnace work harder to supply warm air to your home, so inspect the filters each month and replace them every 1-3 months, depending on your individual living circumstances.

Inspect Electrical Components

The electrical system in the furnace contains essential functional components to the furnace. If you suspect a problem here or just want to inspect the system, calling an HVAC professional is a good idea. The burner and heat exchanger are two important components in the furnace electrical system that can compromise the appliance entirely. If you are unfamiliar with assessing these components, have a professional come and inspect the appliance.

Assess Ventilation and Insulation

The ductwork that transports air within the house is as integral to the central heating system as the furnace that generates the warm air. Efficient heat distribution is important as much as furnace functionality. If the heat is not being properly distributed throughout the house due a problem in the ductwork, you’re not benefiting from an efficient furnace. If air distribution is a problem, have an HVAC technician assess the problem.

You should also be aware of the effect proper insulation has on the central heating system. Good insulation helps retain more heat during the winter and can make your home more energy efficient when running the furnace. Make sure attic insulation is in good condition and sufficient to provide proper heat retention in the living quarters of the house. Also, seal and weatherstrip doors, windows, and any cracks that can allow cold air into the house. Doing this can keep your home warmer, save energy your furnace expends, and reduce monthly power bills.