Furnaces operate in a two-step process. Heat is produced through the combustion of wood, gas, coal, or electricity. Once heat is produced, the furnace distributes heat to the rooms via ductwork, vents, and registers.
Keeping a furnace running at peak performance is essential for keeping your home warm and comfortable during the colder months. A well-maintained furnace will also save you money on energy bills and extend the life of your heating system.
But what impacts furnace performance? How can you maximize performance to ensure your furnace works well for as long as you own it? With just a few simple tips and tricks, your furnace will be in tip-top shape for years.
One of the most important tasks is also the easiest. Changing the air filter regularly will keep your furnace operational and at peak performance. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, making your furnace work harder and use more energy. Manufacturers recommend changing your air filter every one to three months, or more frequently if you have pets or live in an area with high levels of dust and debris. This small step can make a big difference in the efficiency of your furnace.
Next, scheduling an annual maintenance check with a professional HVAC technician should be at the top of your to-do list. A technician will inspect your furnace for potential issues and perform any necessary repairs or adjustments. They’ll also clean and lubricate the moving parts and check the ductwork for leaks. This routine maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and prolong the life of your furnace.
Furnaces are usually tucked into a corner or closet. It’s the perfect place to stack boxes and store unused items. That also restricts airflow and efficiency. As a general rule, keep flammable materials, such as papers or cleaning supplies, far away from the furnace. A cluttered area can impede airflow and increase the risk of a fire.
It’s also critical to ensure your home is well insulated to allow the furnace to do its job. Insulation helps to keep warm air inside and cold air outside, reducing the workload on your furnace. Make sure to check for air leaks around windows and doors, and consider adding insulation to your attic or walls as needed.
One often overlooked aspect of furnace performance is the thermostat. The thermostat should be in a good location, away from drafts and direct sunlight. Also, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. This can save energy and money while also maximizing the performance of your furnace.
Lastly, it’s essential to be aware of carbon monoxide (CO) leaks. CO is a colorless and odorless gas produced by a malfunctioning furnace. It’s critical to have a CO detector in your home and to check it regularly. If the detector sounds an alarm, evacuate your home immediately and call a professional to check for leaks.
The furnace is designed to be a workhorse, keeping you safe, warm, and comfortable throughout the year. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing the performance of your furnace and keeping your home warm and comfortable all winter long.