Tips for Winter Furnace Care
Tips for Winter Furnace Care
Whether you perform your own HVAC maintenance or have a professional do the job, the task tends to surprise us. Didn’t I just do that a few months ago? Relax, it’s not quite time for a full HVAC tune-up in preparation for summer (it will be here before you know it, though), but it’s a great time to make a visual inspection of your furnace. The good news is that HVAC maintenance rarely goes unrewarded. Whether it saves you from future repairs, extends the life of the system or knocks a few bucks off the monthly energy bill, it’s almost always worth it. The professionals from Blue Flame Heating & Air Conditioning have a few tips for a proper visual inspection.
A Mid-Winter Checkup
If you didn’t skip last fall’s furnace tuneup, a mid-winter visual inspection of your HVAC system shouldn’t require much time or effort. (If you didn’t get around to performing or scheduling your pre-winter inspection, keep reading, this checkup is especially beneficial to you.) There’s no need to open up the unit. The goal of this mid-season once-over is to make sure everything is holding up well now that it’s in-use.
Visually inspect your unit. Be sure to clear the space around the furnace and clear any objects blocking the air intake. Clean surfaces and search for signs of leaks or damage to the gas inlet pipe and exhaust flue. If you have a pilot light, the flame should be blue. Check that air flows through each vent in the house, and check or replace your thermostat battery.
Reduce Stress, Boost Lifespan
By reducing stress on your HVAC system, you’ll often wind up extending its lifespan and saving on energy costs at the same time. Losses in efficiency, such as clogged air filters and leaks in windows and door jambs, force a heater to run longer and use more energy to compensate.
To keep the HVAC system free of undue stress:
- Check your air filter regularly and change it as-needed. If you can’t remember to do this, try swapping the filters at a specific time each month. Depending on the season, weather and several other factors, the air filter may require more or less frequent changes.
- Use your thermostat and fans. When leaving the house empty for more than a few hours, turn the temperature down a few degrees and give the furnace and blower a little breather. Run ceiling fans on low so that they pull air toward the ceiling. This circulation helps even out the temperature in the home.
- Acclimate your home to a lower temperature. The ideal winter temperature for each home varies. Some like it cool while others prefer it toasty. Of course, toasty can also mean costly. Instead of making a sudden temperature drop, try gradually dialing back the heat in your home by a degree every two days to allow time for acclimation. Small changes like this can make a big difference, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which reports that a one-degree drop, maintained for eight hours, can lower energy costs by as much as a percent.
- Get control with technology. If you don’t already own one, consider a programmable thermostat a no-briner investment. If used properly, these devices can pay for themselves in energy savings in months. Programmable thermostats allow for a finer degree of temperature control, and you won’t have to remember to adjust the temperature.
A quick visual inspection, combined with these daily practices can reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system. As always, if you find something that doesn’t look right during your visual inspection, fix it sooner rather than later, or schedule a visit from your local HVAC professional. Small problems in the HVAC system usually wind up being expensive fixes if you put them off. Call us today at 206-388-5667 to get set up an appointment today!