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For many people, fall is the best time of the year, in no small part because the temperature reaches a pleasant cool that lets people open their window and keep both their furnaces and air conditioners off for a month or more.

This period of crisp, natural air is good for your psyche and wallet alike. But as the days get shorter and leaves curl up and fall, it comes time to run your furnace yet again.

Problem is, it’s likely been around half a year since you’ve last run your furnace. After all that idle time, your furnace probably needs some attention before it’s ready to run at peak performance again.

Here are three ways you can make sure your furnace hits the ground running this winter.

Replace the Filter

Pound for pound, replacing your HVAC system’s air filter is the most efficient thing you could possibly do for it. In other words, there is nothing else you can do so quickly and cheaply that will have as big an impact as replacing your filter.

Replacing your filter is easy, and it’s probably the one HVAC maintenance task that you should perform without hiring a professional. The filter is almost always on the side of the furnace, and replacing it is a matter of pulling out the old filter and sliding the new one in. But the benefits are huge. You’ll:

  • Lower your energy consumption (by up to 30%)
  • Extend the lifespan of your HVAC system (dirty filters contribute to more HVAC failures than anything else according to Angie’sList)
  • Dramatically improve the cleanliness of the air in your house

Ideally, you should change the filter every month, but changing it every three months should be considered a minimum. And since your furnace will (hopefully) only be running a little bit in the early days of fall, that’s the perfect time to change it to make sure your furnace does a great job of heating your home all winter long.

Make sure the vents are open

Let’s make it clear: all the vents in your house should always be open, without exception.

There’s a running assumption that by closing vents in unused rooms of a house, your furnace won’t heat those rooms, and you’ll end up heating fewer square heat, lowering your heating bill. That assumption is only half right. Closing vents does keep those rooms from being heated, but it actually causes your furnace to use more energy, not less of it. Here’s what closing your vents does:

  • Causes the return vents to pull air into the furnace from the now-cold room, lowering the overall efficiency of the unit
  • Decreases the amount of air flowing through your entire home
  • Increases the likelihood of causing some sort of leak
  • Increases the likelihood of a blown compressor

All in all, closing your vents increases the amount you spend on heating. The same principles apply if your vents are blocked, say by furniture or rugs. So if your vents are closed or blocked, make sure to open them!

Instead of closing your vents, just close the doors of unused rooms. It’ll be better for both your furnace and your wallet.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Furnaces have gone from around 40% efficient to around 98% efficient over the past century, which marks a significant decrease in the amount of money and energy wasted by artificial heating. But with that increased efficiency comes an increased numbers of electronic and mechanical parts. Furnaces have a lot more parts that can break now, which is the reason furnaces went from lasting 50+ years to 30 years at maximum.

And 30 years is an extremely generous estimate. It’s far more common for furnaces to last between 15-20 years with proper maintenance. Shirk maintenance and you’re looking at lifespans closer to 10 (or fewer!) years.

When you schedule HVAC maintenance, a trained technician will come and perform all the tips and cleanings that you can’t do on your own, like:

  • Cleaning the pilot light and heat exchange
  • Making sure there are no fuel line (or duct) leaks
  • Cleaning and tightening the parts of the furnace that are easily broken
  • and much, much more

Not only will maintenance increase your furnace’s lifespan, but it will also ensure your furnace consistently runs at peak efficiency.

You should schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year. We also have maintenance plans that will automate the process.

Schedule Furnace Maintenance Today

Planning for maintenance is an important part of any home heating and cooling strategy. Without it, you might unknowingly void your manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re interested in a longer life for your furnace and cheaper heating bills, call Steve’s Heating for maintenance today.

— One Comment —

  1. I appreciate what you said about furnaces lasting around 15-20 years. My husband has been really concerned about the furnace in our new home and we have no frame of reference for how old it really is. I think that it might be best to get it replaced, just to be safe.

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