Heat Up Your Savings: A Guide to Furnace Maintenance
Maintaining your heating system may not seem glamorous, but neither is healthy eating. Everyone understands the benefits of a good diet and pays a price for ignoring the guidelines.
The price for ignoring furnace maintenance guidelines can be very steep, indeed. It goes well beyond decreased comfort and elevated energy bills. It can cost your home and possibly your life.
Now that we’ve got the worst out of the way, let’s talk about what you can do to maintain your heating system and why staying on top of things is so important.
The Benefits of Regular Furnace Maintenance
A well-maintained heating system directly impacts your comfort, safety, and finances. Here are some of the top reasons why regular maintenance is so critical:
1. Greater Safety
Routine maintenance ensures your heating system operates safely, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide leaks, electrical issues, and fire.
2. Enhanced Efficiency
Regular maintenance helps your system run at peak efficiency, cutting down your energy consumption and reducing your monthly bills.
3. Extended System Lifespan
A well-maintained system can serve you reliably for years, helping you avoid the cost of premature replacement.
4. Better Air Quality
Keeping your heating system clean also means cleaner air in your home, reducing allergens and respiratory irritants.
5. Fewer Unexpected Repairs
Routine maintenance can catch minor issues before they become big, costly problems.
6. Consistent Comfort
Regular upkeep ensures your home stays cozy all winter without unexpected chilly surprises.
7. Increased Property Value
A well-maintained heating system adds value to your home and can be a decisive selling point.
8. Warranty Preservation
Many manufacturers require regular maintenance to keep the warranty valid.
9. Lower Carbon Footprint
An efficient heating system uses less energy, contributing to a greener, more sustainable planet.
10. Local Regulation Compliance
Your area may have safety regulations that require regular furnace check-ups. Staying compliant can prevent fines and legal trouble.
11. Lower Noise Levels
Regular maintenance can help reduce noise generated by your heating system, contributing to a quieter home environment.
12. Early Detection of Wear and Tear
Routine check-ups allow early detection of wear and tear on your system components, prolonging the furnace’s functionality and reducing the need for costly replacements.
13. Improved Circulation
Regular maintenance ensures better air circulation in your home, improving your household’s overall comfort and well-being.
DIY Maintenance vs. Professional Maintenance
You may be able to handle some maintenance DIY, but advanced tasks should be left to the professionals.
- Regular Cleaning: Keep the exterior of your unit and the surrounding area free of dust and debris.
- Filter Replacement: Regularly check and replace your furnace’s air filter to maintain optimal air quality and system efficiency.
- Thermostat Check: Keep an eye on your thermostat to ensure it’s working properly and keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.
- Ductwork Inspection: Look for leaks in your ductwork and seal them with tape to improve your system’s efficiency.
- Check Insulation: Inspect your home’s insulation regularly, especially in attics and basements. Good insulation reduces the strain on your heating system and improves efficiency.
- Ventilation Inspection: Vents should be clear of blockages like furniture, curtains, or rugs.
- System Check: Regularly turn on your heating system to ensure it starts and runs smoothly. Listen for any unusual noises that could indicate a problem.
- Inspect exhaust flue: Make sure it’s clear of obstructions and in good condition.
- Blower Components: Cleaning and adjusting the blower components can improve airflow and overall system efficiency.
- Fan Inspection: Check the fan for wear and tear. Clean off any dust build-up and replace it if necessary.
- Annual Check-up: A professional should inspect your system at least once a year to assess its overall condition and performance.
- Carbon Monoxide Check (for Gas Furnaces): A trained technician should perform an annual carbon monoxide test to ensure your safety.
- Advanced Electrical Work: Any work involving electrical components should be handled by a professional to avoid the risk of electrocution or damage to the system.
- Tune-up: Regular professional tune-ups can extend the lifespan of your system, enhance its efficiency, and prevent costly repairs down the line.
- Ventilation Checks: A professional should inspect the ventilation system to ensure it’s in good working order and safe.
- Fuel Connection Inspection: Pro technicians should check fuel connections, pressure, burner combustion, and the heat exchanger to prevent potential hazards.
- Systematic Troubleshooting: If you’re experiencing persistent issues, call a professional for a thorough system check to diagnose and resolve them.
Types of Furnace Air Filters & How They Differ
A critical component of your heating system, the air filter, comes in several types, each with unique characteristics. Here, we list them in ascending order of quality:
- Fiberglass Filters: These are basic, disposable filters that provide the lowest level of filtration. They work by trapping larger dust and dirt particles to protect the furnace components but do little to improve indoor air quality.
- Pleated Filters: These filters are a step up from fiberglass. They use pleated, polyester fabric or cotton folds to capture particles. The number of pleats per foot impacts their efficiency — the more pleats, the better the filtration.
- Washable Filters: Also known as permanent filters, these are designed to be cleaned and reused. They use vented metal, foam, or cloth layers to trap particles. Careful and regular cleaning is crucial to prevent mold growth.
- High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters: These filters offer superior filtration. They force air through a fine mesh that traps harmful pollutants such as dust mites, pollen, and tobacco smoke. They’re ideal for households with allergy sufferers.
- Electrostatic Filters: These filters use self-charging cotton or paper fibers to attract particles. They come in both disposable and washable models.
- Activated Carbon Filters: This is the highest quality filter available. It captures particles and uses activated carbon to absorb odors and chemicals, significantly improving indoor air quality.
Remember, while a higher-quality filter offers better filtration, it can’t do it’s job if it’s old or dirty.
Furnace Maintenance in Los Angeles
Do you live in metro Los Angeles and need a furnace inspection or repair?
Call West Coast Chief for guaranteed furnace service and same-day service visits.
Chief employs only certified technicians and offers a warranty on all repairs. We service all brands, honor manufacturer warranties, and use only certified parts in any repair we perform.
Don’t wait until your furnace becomes a problem or liability. Call us today! 888-832-3599.
FAQs on Heating System Maintenance
Q: How often should I change filters?
A: Filters ideally should be changed every 1-3 months, depending on usage and filter type.
Q: What are some signs indicating system issues?
A: Unusual noises, uneven heating, burning odors, or sudden spikes in energy bills are common signs of potential problems.
Q: Can I perform maintenance without professional help?
A: Basic tasks like filter changes can be DIY, but complex issues should be handled by professionals.
Q: How does furnace maintenance affect energy bills?
A: Regular maintenance ensures energy-efficient operation, reducing overall energy bills.
Q: Are there eco-friendly maintenance options?
A: Using eco-friendly filters and optimizing system efficiency are excellent eco-conscious practices.
Q: When should I schedule professional maintenance?
A: We recommend bi-annual checks before summer and winter, but call professionals if you notice any concerning signs.
Q: What’s the best time of year to schedule a furnace tune-up?
A: It’s best to schedule a fall tune-up before you use your heating system intensively in the winter.
Q: What’s the lifespan of a typical furnace?
A: Regularly maintained, a furnace can last 15-20 years, though this varies according to the model and usage conditions.
Q: How often should I clean my ducts?
A: We recommend professional duct cleaning every 3-5 years, but this can depend on factors like pets, allergies, and home renovation work.
Q: What’s the advantage of a programmable thermostat?
A: A programmable thermostat lets you set a schedule for your HVAC system, boosting efficiency and saving on energy costs.
Q: Can an old furnace be dangerous?
A: An old or poorly maintained furnace can pose risks such as carbon monoxide leaks or fire, underscoring the importance of regular maintenance and inspection.
Q: What steps can I take to make my heating system more energy-efficient?
A: Besides regular maintenance, consider steps like sealing and insulating ducts, using a programmable thermostat, and upgrading to an Energy Star-rated system when it’s time to replace your furnace.
West Coast Chief Repair: Always Here for You
West Coast Chief has been repairing washers, dryers, air conditioners, and other appliances since 1995. Not the same job since 1995, mind you — we’re much faster than that!
- We offer same-day repair if you call us before noon.
- We back up every job with some of the best warranties and guarantees in metro Los Angeles.
- We hire only experienced, licensed technicians.
Call us today!
Related Heating Pages
Related Heating Pages