Performing maintenance on your furnace is probably not foremost on your mind this spring. But working on your heating system during the off-season, when the temperatures are mild and the unpredictable Oklahoma weather keeps you indoors, definitely has its advantages. Why not schedule a quiet spring weekend for some easy spring furnace maintenance?
Modern furnace designs don’t require much maintenance, especially the kind of DIY upkeep that can benefit air conditioning systems. Most of the annual maintenance required by a heating system should be performed by a professional. However, there are a few key steps that you can take this spring to ensure that your furnace (most modern variations including single-stage, two-stage and modulating) stays in top condition for years to come.
Heaters can collect quite a bit of dust and debris throughout the winter months. A thorough vacuuming can help keep the dust from contaminating the filter and air stream. Using a regular vacuum with a thin nozzle attachment, clean up any dirt or dust that surrounds the unit. Open up the furnace cover and gently vacuum all the components within reach, then remove the filter and clean that area as well.
You might also use a Swiffer or other dust-catching cloth to infiltrate the more sensitive or difficult-to-reach areas. When you are finished with the furnace, you’ll want to go through the house and vacuum the dust from all of the air registers. Make sure that all the registers are clear of any furniture, drapes or other objects that would block the air flow.
Replace the Filter
One of the easiest and most important maintenance steps is to change the heater’s filter. Throughout the winter, all the air in your home passes through the filter. Considering that Oklahoma winters are usually pretty frigid, your home was probably shut tight for most of the season. This means that the air inside was mainly recycled and ripe for airborne contaminants. If you were running the heater continuously then the filter should have been changed at least once a month. Most homeowners don’t do this and end up with a very dirty filter by the end of winter. This is why it’s a good practice to go ahead and change the filter in the spring – so it’s taken care of before the first cold evening in the fall.
When replacing a filter, make sure that you that you know the appropriate size and MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and denotes the size of air particles the filter is designed to contain. The higher the rating, the more effective the filter is at catching the particles. Stick with the number that is on your current filter, which shouldn’t be any higher than “16.” Filters numbered 17 – 20 are high-efficiency models created for hospitals and other public buildings with a large traffic flow.
You will also want to schedule annual maintenance for your unit sometime in the early fall. A qualified technician will be able to thoroughly clean and test the system to ensure it is ready for the winter. Whenever you are ready to look into heater maintenance, give us a call at 405-794-8900.