Is your home in Huntington, IN, ready to keep you warm once the temperature dips to as low as 36 °F this November 2023? If your furnace won’t work correctly, then it won’t. Instead, you’ll likely feel the harsh cold indoors, even while covered in blankets.
While you can always book a furnace repair service, it’s more cost-effective to maintain it. Proper and regular HVAC maintenance can help prevent premature system breakdowns and failure. It can help extend your equipment’s lifespan while also keeping it efficient.
The last one is especially beneficial for keeping your energy bills under control. After all, home heating typically accounts for about 29% of residential utility bills.
The good news is that you can take steps to optimize your fall furnace performance. We’ll tell you about them in this guide, so please read on.
Inspect HVAC Filters Monthly
The primary purpose of HVAC filters is to protect the system from air pollutants. These include dust, debris, mold, pollen, hair, and pet dander. By capturing these, air filters also help you achieve optimal indoor air quality (IAQ).
Filters may also capture contaminants that become more prevalent in fall and winter. An example is particulate matter (PM) from wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. Idling vehicles to keep them warm also produces more air pollutants.
Considering their crucial roles, air filters can become clogged within a few months. This can happen faster if you have dogs that shed seasonally (once in the spring, another in the fall). Likewise, your filters may get all clogged up if you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace.
Clogged air filters can cause many problems (more on this later), so it’s crucial to check them monthly.
Replace or Wash Dirty Filters
Suppose you’re inspecting your filter and find it has gray, ash-looking material. That’s gunk, which means it’s time to replace or wash the filter. Please only do the latter if it’s washable and not disposable.
Please don’t put off changing or washing the filter, either. A filthy filter can impede airflow, forcing the furnace to work harder. This lowers its efficiency and causes the system to use more energy.
As a result, your heating energy bills also increase.
Making your furnace work harder also puts unnecessary strain on it. The longer this goes on, the likelier your heating system can overheat. This can lead to the system breaking down and requiring expensive repairs.
A filthy filter can also result in your home feeling inadequately warm. This is due to the impaired airflow; with less air entering the system, there’s less air for it to heat.
Last but not least, dirty filters can release once-trapped contaminants. This can happen as the system tries to suck in air, causing the top layer of the dirt build-up to become loose. This can then result in or contribute to poor IAQ.
Test the Burner
When you turn your gas furnace on, you want its flames to have a steady blue color and be the same size. These characteristics indicate the burner is working efficiently and combusting the gas completely.
Complete combustion means your furnace isn’t wasting gas. Likewise, it’s not generating carbon monoxide (CO), a byproduct of incomplete combustion.
What if your furnace flames are in other colors like green, orange, red, or yellow? These indicate incomplete combustion. You don’t want this; it wastes fuel and creates CO hazards.
CO is toxic, but what makes it even more dangerous is that it’s colorless and odorless. It’s a deadly gas that lands about 50,000 people in U.S. emergency departments yearly.
That’s a good enough reason to ensure your furnace isn’t generating CO. But if it produces flames in colors other than blue, it’s time to get it checked and cleaned by a pro.
Vacuum and Wash HVAC Vent Covers
HVAC vents, especially those on the floor, can collect dust, dirt, and other debris over time.
As with clogged filters, filthy vents can impair airflow and reduce furnace efficiency. They can also lower your home’s indoor air quality.
So, make it a habit to check your air vents once or twice monthly and clean them as soon as they get dirty. You can vacuum them on the spot if they don’t have greasy residue. But if they do, consider removing and washing them with warm, soapy water.
Also, please ensure that nothing blocks your air vents (e.g., furniture) and that they’re all open. Anything that blocks them can impede airflow and make your furnace work harder.
Invest in a Professional HVAC Maintenance Plan
Such plans include a multi-point HVAC maintenance checklist performed at regularly scheduled visits. If you sign up for one, a certified technician will come and service your HVAC system at least twice a year. This often includes a spring tune-up (to prep the AC for summer) and a fall one (to ensure the heater is ready for winter).
For your furnace maintenance program, you can expect the HVAC technician to:
- Lubricate components as needed
- Check and tighten electrical connections
- Remove dirt and debris in the system
- Wash or replace air filters
- Examine the heat exchanger
- Check the flue
- Inspect and test blower components
You can also rely on a reputable HVAC technician to inspect and check your thermostat for issues. Moreover, the pro will calibrate the thermostat to boost furnace efficiency and performance.
Also, if you’re unsure where or how to access your air filters, ask the HVAC technician during a visit. They’ll surely be happy to teach you so you can wash or replace them as needed between visits.
Avoid Costly Furnace Repair With Regular Maintenance
Proper HVAC maintenance can help you avoid premature and costly furnace repair services. It can also help keep your heating system efficient and safe.
So, if you haven’t had a furnace tune-up yet, now’s an excellent time.
Our highly experienced HVAC technicians at Pro Comfort Heating & Cooling, LLC can help. We’re proud to serve customers in Huntington and the greater Indianapolis area. You can rely on us to provide high-quality yet reasonably-priced services.
Ready to maximize your HVAC system, then? If so, contact us today, and we’ll gladly help!