Check, Clean, and Seal
The majority of the preparation work falls into these three types of tasks: checking, cleaning, and sealing. This allows homeowners to take stock of how well each area or part is holding up, ensure that it is free from build-up and debris that can cause additional issues, and make sure the sections that should be free of leaks continue to be free of leaks.
Replaceable furnace filters should be checked and changed every 30–90 days to keep a furnace running without issues. Furnaces using permanent filters should be checked on a similar schedule, but these filters can be cleaned and re-inserted into the furnace. This depends on how frequently the HVAC system in any home is run — for most homeowners in the Midwest, it’s quite often — and how vigorously. If the furnace runs often, then the filter check and cleaning or replacement should be done closer to every 4 to 6 weeks, so debris, dust, allergens, and pollutants are kept from blowing back through the system and the rest of the home.
Check the vents around the home, noting that they are opened or closed as necessary to maximize heat flow in each room and area. The vents should also be cleared of any potential blockages or barriers that could dampen airflow.
If the vents get clogged or blocked, this can make your HVAC system run harder than it needs to while circulating air through the system. Make sure the seals around the edges of the vents are still well secured, and that the air is blowing as expected in each room — if the pressure seems low or nonexistent, it could be a sign that there is a leak in the vents.
Windows and Doors
Homeowners should double check the seals and weather stripping around the windows and doors throughout the home, replacing them as needed. Any cracks or openings will mean that cold air is able to sneak through, into the home, as well as letting warm escape through the same passages. This also makes it more difficult for a furnace to properly heat an area, as it needs to work harder than necessary to compensate for the draft. Avoiding this undue pressure on the system helps preserve the life of the furnace.
Set and Test the Thermostat
Remember to switch the thermostat from cooling to heating, and to reset the temperature as necessary to accommodate for rising or dropping temperatures outside. Incidentally, this is a good time to test an older thermostat to ensure it stills heats and cools as expected. Early in the season is the ideal time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat, not only to better regulate the temperature, but to optimize how and when to change the temperature to maximize efficiency and save on utility bills. This also helps save homeowners the trouble of remembering to switch it on and off, or up and down, manually.
Schedule a Furnace Inspection
Ideally, a furnace inspection will be scheduled and completed annually, and is best done in the months leading up to fall. A professional technician will be able to see that the parts within the furnace, vents, and the entire system are working properly, are lubricated as needed, and that the switches, wires, and connectors are all functioning properly. They can also call out and fix areas that should be addressed immediately, or that may cause problems in the near future, saving homeowners from an inopportune furnace failure.
Taking care of a home’s furnace is just part of being a responsible homeowner. But taking the time to do the necessary checks, minor maintenance, and appointment scheduling saves time, money, and stress that could be put to much better use enjoying the comfortable atmosphere the furnace creates.
If you are ready to schedule that annual furnace inspection, or have additional questions about what you can do to help keep your furnace running smoothly, reach out to the technicians at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling. With over 30+ years of experience, the technicians at Duane Blanton will be able to guide homeowners through the entire inspection and maintenance process with ease. Reach out to Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling today, via phone at (847) 855-0075, or online through their online scheduling portal.
This article was originally published on September 10, 2021 on Duane Blanton Family Home Service’s blog.