The heating system in your home is vital to your family’s comfort. When temperatures plummet and the snow begins to fall, you need to know that you can rely on that furnace or boiler to work even in the toughest conditions. However, this won’t happen on its own. You need to invest time caring for the system in order to get the most out of it. Maintenance cleanings should be at the top of your list, but there are other steps you can take to ensure the safe and efficient operation of your heating system this winter.
Important Maintenance Steps for Your Furnace or Boiler
- Yearly Clean and Check: Every furnace and boiler manufacturer will require regular maintenance on the system as part of their warranty coverage agreement. Not maintaining the system professionally will lead to voiding of the warranty. This fact alone is proof of the important role that maintenance plays. Having an HVAC professional clean and assess the system for problems on a yearly basis will prevent problems and breakdowns when you need the system most, and it is the first step towards properly caring for your furnace or boiler to ensure total home comfort.
- Filter Replacements: If you have a forced air furnace in the home, cleaning the system yearly is not enough to ensure proper function. You need to keep on top of filter replacements as well. The filter not only cleans the air in the home, but it also protects the system from the harmful effects of dust, dirt, and debris build-up in between yearly maintenance checks. Running the system without a filter will quickly lead to a breakdown. On the other hand, not replacing the filter frequently enough will also lead to a breakdown. A filthy filter will restrict airflow through the furnace, and the system will protect itself from damage by shutting down until adequate airflow is restored. The typical filter should be replaced on a monthly basis. Make this habit a regular part of your monthly home maintenance and enjoy a functional furnace and consistently clean air.
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Both furnaces and boilers pose a carbon monoxide risk in the home if they are not well cared for year after year. These systems have a heat exchanger that is used to transfer heat throughout the home. When this component becomes cracked from poor maintenance or malfunction, carbon monoxide could leak into the home. Your maintenance technician should check for this during your yearly cleaning, but in between cleanings, you need to have functional carbon monoxide detectors in the house. Test these units and keep them plugged in at all times. They will sound the alarm when carbon monoxide levels are high, and having them in your home could be the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster.
- Duct Cleanings: For those furnace owners out there, you also have duct work in the home that should be maintained every 3 to 7 years depending on the conditions in your home. Filthy duct work will impact the health of your family and could impede the energy efficiency of the furnace. Find a local duct cleaning company with an impeccable reputation and have your ducts assessed. You will notice the difference, and the best part is that this maintenance check doesn’t have to be completed every year! Pet owners and those with severe allergies may need it done every 3 years or so, but most homeowners will only need to have the ducts cleaned once every 5-7 years.
- Bleeding Your Boiler: The boiler in your home can accumulate pockets of air during the off season that can affect the system’s performance. These pockets can become so bad that they cut of heat to entire room. In order to remove air from the system and improve efficiency and comfort, you need to bleed your boiler. If you have never done this before, have your favorite HVAC technician complete the job the first time around and pay close attention. Most technicians will show you how to do this simple maintenance step.
Keep these tips in mind every winter, and get to work. Many of us take home comfort for granted, until it is gone and we experience a breakdown. Have a reliable HVAC contractor on your side to keep your system running well when you need it most.
Author Bio: Kate Miller is a copywriter and web marketing specialist for Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning in the Chicagoland area. Her blog 24 Hour Heating and Cooling News covers everything from heating and air conditioning to home improvement and plumbing. Check out her articles for helpful tips and advice any homeowner can use around the home.