Come winter, your furnace has an important job to perform – keeping you and your family warm and comfortable, all season long. Has it been living up to your standard, year after year? That’s great news, but with it comes a caution: your furnace wasn’t built to last forever. No mechanical object is.
Furnaces have an average equipment life of 12-15 years, and that assumes they’re well-maintained along the way. A furnace that isn’t inspected by an HVAC pro once a year can fail after only 7 years or so.
At the same time, furnace maintenance begins at home. So here are some steps you can take to help your own cause.
Regulate Your Home’s Humidity
Protecting your furnace from excess moisture is an easy step to forget. Humid temperatures can cause your unit’s parts to deteriorate. This can lead to breakdowns. It can also lead to a cracked heat exchanger, which is expensive to replace, and potentially harmful to your health.
Beef Up Your Insulation
While the amount and type of insulation you need varies depending on where you live, every home can benefit from additional insulation. Signs that your home has insufficient insulation include drafts, uneven temperatures from room to room and a second story that’s noticeably warmer than your main floor. Other signs include cold floors and walls, higher than normal energy bills and moisture condensation.
Maintain Adequate Airflow
Most residential furnaces and air handlers are designed to circulate a precise volume of air to meet the temperature setting on the thermostat. Blockages and other problems that disrupt that balance put extra strain on the furnace blower, which translates to increased energy usage and accelerated wear and tear. The most common airflow bottleneck is a clogged filter. The filter should be cleaned or replaced about every 8 weeks.
Avoid the “On” Setting
Most thermostats have two fan settings labeled Auto and On. This directly controls the blower inside the furnace air handler. The On setting causes the blower to run constantly, while the Auto setting causes it to run when heat is required to meet the thermostat setting. Hence, only the Auto setting should be used to avoid excess wear and tear.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat or smart thermostat provides the most precise control possible over your HVAC system. By taking advantage of programmable settings, you can reduce wear on the system even further. In addition to responding to changing temperatures, programmable thermostats will adhere to a schedule you set so it will run enough to keep the air comfortably warm at specific times throughout the day.
And now, back to the need for annual preventive maintenance – a specialty of the house here at C&D Cooling & Heating. We maintain and repair all makes and models and, when it’s time to upgrade to a new and more energy efficient model, we’ll properly size and install it to the highest standards of excellence – just as we do for all our customers. Contact us today for service while furnace maintenance is fresh on your mind.