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  • Tim Green

Furnace Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Furnace Running Smoothly All Winter Long

Winter–the promise of snow-laden mornings, hot chocolate evenings, and, if you're not careful, the dreaded furnace fiasco that leaves you shivering in your wool socks. But fear not!

Keeping your furnace humming through the frosty months doesn't have to be a game of chance. We’re here to share some insider tips, ensuring your winter wonderland stays just that – wonderfully warm, without any unexpected chills.

And most importantly, stay informed--because when it comes to battling the cold, your furnace is your best ally.

Why Regular Furnace Maintenance

Extends Lifespan

Just like any major appliance or vehicle, your furnace can last significantly longer than one that does not consistently get regular TLC. Also, by addressing small issues during routine checks you prevent them from escalating into bigger problems.

Enhances Energy Efficiency

We all love a good win-win situation, right? Well, maintaining your furnace is exactly that!

A well-cared-for furnace doesn't have to work as hard to heat your home so it’s more energy-efficient. What does this mean for you? Lower heating bills, for starters, and a smaller carbon footprint. It's good for your wallet and the planet—a double victory!

Improves Home Safety

Maintenance ensures everything works correctly and safely, keeping the scary stuff at bay so you can sleep soundly at night. Because if your furnace isn't working right, it could leak carbon monoxide, which is super dangerous to your home and family.

Maintains Manufacturer's Warranty

It's always a good idea to keep in mind that lots of furnace manufacturers require you to have your furnace serviced annually to keep your warranty active. Skipping out on this could mean that if something goes wrong with it–you won't be covered, which could lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses for repairs down the road.

Provides Better Indoor Air Quality

Breath of fresh air, anyone? Yes, you can be sure that the air pushed through your vents is clean and healthy! How? Well, during maintenance, technicians replace the air filter as well as clean any dust and debris. This is great news for households with members who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.

Prevents Unexpected Breakdowns

During checkups, you can spot any wear and tear or other potential issues early on. This way, you can schedule repairs at a time that suits you, rather than dealing with an inconvenient and costly emergency breakdown.

Maintenance- DIY Furnace Tips For Winter

Changing the Air Filter

First, find your furnace filter. Usually, it's located in the blower compartment, air handler, or in an attached filter case. Then, make sure to switch your furnace off before trying to replace the filter for safety reasons.

Now if you have a disposable filter, take out the old one and make a note of the size (usually printed on the side) so you can buy the right replacement. If you have a reusable one, follow the manufacturer's instructions to clean it.

Once it’s removed, put the new or cleaned filter in, making sure it's facing the right direction. The arrows on its frame show you which way the airflow should go.

A pro tip? This isn’t a once-in-a-winter task. Change or clean it every 1-3 months–depending on your usage, filter type, and if your furry pets love shedding.

Cleaning the Burners

Safety first! Make sure to turn your furnace off to prevent any accidents. Then, open the access panel (you might need a screwdriver here).

Next, look for signs of rust, misalignment, or any debris blockages. You can use a soft brush or vacuum with a brush attachment to gently clean the burners. NOTE: Do not touch them with hard tools or hands, as they can be fragile.

Also, ensure they are properly aligned according to the manufacturer's manual. Otherwise, you risk inefficient burning and heating.

Inspecting the Thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is set to "heat" mode and that the temperature setting is higher than the current room temperature. Occasionally, dusting the inside can improve functionality, so carefully open the cover and gently dust the inside with a soft brush or compressed air.

Still rocking an old-school thermostat? It might be time to level up to a smart or programmable model. Not only do they offer better efficiency, but they also give you control over your home’s climate from anywhere. Plus, who doesn't love shaving a little off the energy bill, right?

Look Out! Spotting Potential Troubles

Unusual Noises

  • Rattling: Hear that? It could be as simple as loose panels or screws needing a quick tightening. A mini investigation (and possibly a screwdriver) is all you need.

  • Whining or Squealing: This could mean a belt longing for replacement or bearings pleading for lubrication.

  • Banging or Popping: Sounds like dirty burners or a heat exchanger issue–a sign to get cleaning or professional help here.

Frequent Cycling

If your furnace turns on and off more often than usual, it could be throwing a fit over a malfunctioning thermostat, feeling choked by a dirty filter, or overheating. If it's staying on too long before shutting off, leakage or inefficiency might be to blame.

Increased Heating Bills

It might be working overtime (and not in a good way) due to reasons like leaky ductwork or a filter that's seen better days or worse–other mechanical problems.

Uneven Heating

Rooms that don't warm up as they should could mean your furnace isn't distributing air properly. This can be caused by blocked vents, poor insulation, or issues with its blower. Now, if certain areas become too hot, it might be due to unregulated airflow or a malfunctioning thermostat.

Strange Smells

  • Burning Dust Smell: A slight burning smell when you first turn it on for the season is normal; however, if it persists, it could indicate a problem.

  • Chemical Aromas: Smells resembling formaldehyde or other chemicals could signify a cracked heat exchanger, which is a critical issue.

Trouble Starting the Furnace

Struggles to start or doesn't start at all? For those with older models, check if the pilot light is still in the game. It’s a small flame but plays a big role. Newer models, on the other hand, rely on ignition systems that might need a look-over.

And don’t forget about the often-overlooked culprits–electrical issues. A tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse can also be the reason behind this.

Yellow Pilot Light (For Gas Furnaces)

If you peek in and see a yellow flame–it's not a good sign! This could mean your furnace is not combusting properly, and instead of warming your toes, it's leaking carbon monoxide – which is dangerous! Remember, a healthy furnace flame should be blue, indicating everything's burning as it should.

Visible Signs of Wear and Tear

Just like anything else, it gets old. But sometimes, age also shows signs that are worth paying attention to. So make sure to regularly inspect your furnace for rust, corrosion, or soot buildup. Note that these aren’t just cosmetic issues; they hint at deeper problems that could affect efficiency or even safety.

Decreased Air Quality

Noticed more dust around your house lately? Or maybe the air feels different, and not in a good way. These could be signs that your air isn’t being filtered properly.  And for those with allergies or respiratory issues, this is more than a comfort issue—it's a health concern.

Water Pooling Around the Furnace

Often, this points to a clogged condensate drain. This might look like a small problem for now, but it can lead to water damage and worse–affect your furnace's efficiency.

Call In The Furnace Service Pros: GJ Appliances HVAC

Remember, regular furnace maintenance isn't just a chore; it's an investment in your home's comfort and safety. Our experienced team can quickly diagnose and solve any issues.

So, don't wait for the cold to creep in!

Contact us today for professional furnace repair, maintenance, or installation. Always same-day service available!

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