Don’t wait until the snow hits the ground to perform maintenance on your furnace. In the fall, get your furnace winter-ready in just a few short hours in order to keep it running efficiently and keep your family comfortably warm all season. Home experts suggest thoroughly checking your system once a year each fall before the ice and cold set in. That way, if your furnace does break down, there’s still ample time to get it repaired before indoor heating is an absolute necessity.
Follow these key steps to maximize the efficiency of your furnace system:
1. Clean your ductwork and air vents in your system. Simply remove the vent covers using a screwdriver and use your vacuum’s extension hose to remove any dust and debris.
2. Replace your furnace filter every fall. However, it’s highly recommended to check your filter every month and replace it if it appears dirty in order to continue getting the most efficiency from your furnace. Most homeowners generally change their furnace filter every three months. Use the change of seasons as a timely reminder.
3. Inspect your furnace’s blower belt for any visible cracks or damage. First, turn off the power on your main circuit breaker that leads to the furnace. With a screwdriver, remove the cover and check the belt and replace if necessary. The blower belt is the biggest rubber belt you’ll see once the cover is removed.
4. Keep the immediate area surrounding your furnace free from any clutter or debris. This may include boxes, furniture, or general storage items since they can ultimately prevent air from properly flowing through the vents.
5. Consider upgrading your furnace filter if your current one is a standard flat filter. By upgrading to a more efficient pleated filter, electrostatic, or HEPA filter it will enhance the energy output of your furnace and let the warm air circulate freely throughout your home.
6. Set your smart or programmable thermostat so it automatically adjusts the temperature when everyone is away or asleep at night. By conserving energy, you could literally save anywhere from 25 – 70 percent on energy costs just by incorporating a programmable thermostat. If you don’t already have one, consider installing one since it will greatly reduce both your overall energy consumption and costs.
7. Go outdoors to check the exhaust flue to make sure it’s free from any unnecessary obstacles such as animal nests or tree branches.
Regardless of what type of furnace system you have, it’s crucial to keep it running at maximum efficiency to not only save money on energy bills, but to increase the life of the system itself. If necessary, hire an expert each fall to inspect your furnace system for usually less than $100. It’s money well spent compared to the cost of buying a new furnace.