It’s never too early to begin preparing for the coming winter season. Although the best way to get your furnace ready for the approaching heating season is to schedule a professional fall furnace tune-up, there are still plenty of things that you can do to supplement the professional diagnosis and cleaning.
5 Heating Season Tips – Furnace Maintenance
1. Get your furnace tuned up by a professional in the fall, before you need it. (Your HVAC system should be serviced twice year – once in the fall for your heating system and once in spring for your air conditioning). The heating and air technician may also be able to conduct a home energy performance assessment using depressurization and infrared camera tests. This will inform you exactly where you are losing the most energy and what you can do to fix it. If you don’t know where to start when improving the energy efficiency of your home, a home energy audit is a great place to start.
2. Chimneys should also be inspected once a year by a professional. Creosote buildup in your chimney can lead to a dangerous chimney fire. If you have a long stiff brush and a shop vac on hand, you can learn how to inspect and clean your chimney yourself here. Also, visually inspect your fireplace screen, flue, and damper for cracks, burnt out holes, and general condition. Make sure your damper is opening and closing smoothly. When you are all finished, ensure the damper is fully closed to avoid air leaks out your chimney.
3. Check furnace intake and exhaust piping. If your furnace vents fumes outside using PVC piping, double-check that your intake and exhaust vents have a minimum clearance of 5 feet and that they are installed properly (according to manufacturer instructions). Additionally, make sure your dryer vent is not too close to the intake pipe (at least four feet away, but check your installation manual). It may be tempting to hide or block your furnace PVC piping, but these pipes allow proper venting to occur and could result in inefficiencies, CO poisoning, or worse if blocked or tampered with. When you schedule professional furnace maintenance, your technician will inspect your heating system for proper venting.
4. Check batteries in thermostat, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. If your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide, and thermostat run on batteries, now is a good time to test and change them. Although battery life varies, it’s a good idea to change them out every 6 months. To test your alarms, hold down the test button until your hear the beep/alarm. Check your thermostat to make sure the clock is set correctly and that it’s reading the temperature properly (keep out of direct sunlight and all other heat sources). Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat to save money and energy by having the temperature setting automatically adjust itself. If your thermostat isn’t working properly, check out this thermostat troubleshooting guide. If you have any questions about your smoke alarm, click here for a Smoke Alarm FAQ page.
5. Check and/or replace your air filter. Surprisingly, many homeowners forget about this simple home maintenance task, but it is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your HVAC system running properly. Some heating systems even have a safety shut-off switch when a clogged air filter is detected. This is because many problems can develop from airflow blockages. Not only will you save money and energy by changing your furnace filter, but you will also help clean filter out allergy-inducing contaminants in the air for easier breathing. Checking the air filter once is not enough; set calendar and phone reminders to check your filter every 30 days and wait no longer than 90 days to clean or replace it. A good trick is to write the date on the filter itself with a sharpie whenever you put a new one in so you know exactly how long it’s been since your last filter change. Watch these videos to learn how to replace and clean a furnace filter:
More Furnace Maintenance Tips
For some additional heating season furnace maintenance tips to get your Oklahoma home ready for the upcoming winter season, consult this infographic:
Despite the fact that there are many things a homeowner can do to increase the safety and efficiency of their HVAC system, we highly recommend scheduling professional furnace/heating maintenance! Do so before you need your furnace, as you don’t want to be stuck without heat on the first cold day of winter. Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning specialize in heating system tune-ups so that you can prevent breakdowns, extend the life of your system, and save money on your bills by keeping your system running efficiently. We service all makes and models of HVAC systems!
For year-round maintenance of your furnace and heating system, rely on Interstate to keep your unit running for years to come. All of our technicians are fully licensed, background checked, and drug tested. If you are not 100% Satisfied, we will return for a free follow-up repair or return your money, no questions asked.
Call Interstate Heating and Air Conditioning in Oklahoma City for the following professional services:
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Call us for your in-home evaluation and free estimates: (405) 794-8900.
We look forward to serving you! Stay cozy, Oklahoma!