It’s tempting to follow the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but when it comes to maintaining your furnace, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why it’s very important to give your HVAC system the attention it needs as we prepare to head into the cooler months of the year.
Of course, you don’t want to wait until the middle of winter to get started, so let’s talk about some of the reasons why fall is the best time for a furnace tune-up (and how you can get it done)!
Benefits of Furnace Maintenance
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s talk about what you’ll gain from having a well-maintained furnace. We know that homeowners already carry a lot of expenses, but it’s better to spend a little proactively to avoid costly problems down the road.
- Avoid Breakdowns. It goes without saying, but the last thing you want on the coldest day of the year is for your heating system to fail. Even the highest quality HVAC units experience wear and tear over time, but you can reduce the damage with a little TLC.
- Make Your Furnace Last Longer. When your furnace is well cared for, you can extend its lifespan. Identifying problems before they begin, for example, can spare you from costly repairs or a total replacement. When your furnace is running optimally, you’ll avoid overworking it, allowing it to heat your home for years to come.
- Save On Energy Costs. When your HVAC system has to work harder, efficiency will drop. When that happens, you can expect to see your monthly energy bills rise. By keeping your furnace clean and properly maintained, you can help keep money in your pocket.
- Keep Your Family Safe. We’ve all heard of it. The silent killer. A cracked heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide to filter into your home without you ever knowing. We’re not trying to scare you, but it’s a concern that you should take seriously. Having your furnace inspected annually can help professionals identify whether your home is at risk.
This fall, make it a priority to clean up your furnace and address any issues that arise. If you’ve been ignoring concerns about your HVAC’s performance, this is the perfect time to make sure everything is ready for the chilly months ahead.
DIY Furnace Tuneup Tips
If you were a fan of the old Bob Vila shows, you’ll know that his goal was to empower homeowners with great do-it-yourself tips. We recently spotted DIY Furnace Cleaning and Maintenance suggestions on his site, and it inspired us to share some with you.
- Cut The Power Supply. Before getting started, the first thing you should do is cut the fuel and electrical power supply to your furnace.
- Vacuum the Combustion Chamber. After locating the combustion chamber, remove the door and carefully vacuum inside. Look for any signs of corrosion and make note of anything that seems damaged.
- Vacuum the Blower Compartment. Similar to the last step, you’ll need to locate the blower compartment, review the door, and then vacuum the interior. Again, be on the lookout for holes or any other signs of corrosion.
- Replace Your Furnace Filter. Spring and summer in Virginia are peak allergy seasons, which means your furnace filter is likely full of pollen, dust, and other pollutants. Now’s the time to replace it and give your home a fresh start. Also, read our tips for knowing when to change your air filter (add link to post if you’d like!).
Roll up your sleeves and follow those steps regularly to help keep things running smoothly. Remember, every minute that you spend taking care of your HVAC system is time invested in protecting your home. It’s worth it.
When to Hire a Pro
As we’ve discussed, there are things you can do for yourself without needing backup. There will be times, however, when it’s best to leave the troubleshooting and maintenance to a professional. Call in a professional for the following:
- Strange Noises. Any time you notice rumbling, popping, or other strange noises, schedule an appointment.
- Short Cycling. Have you noticed your furnace shutting off after running just a short period of time? When your thermostat isn’t working properly or the heat exchanger overheats, the unit may turn itself off.
- Excessive Soot. When you vacuumed the combustion chamber, did you notice an excessive amount of soot? When this fine black powder accumulates in large quantities, it’s usually a sign that your heat exchanger needs to be replaced or that the burners need adjustment.
- Irregular Flame. Is the pilot light flame blue instead of yellow? Is the flame faint, uneven, or leaning toward the back of the furnace? This could signal a cracked heat exchanger or dirty burners.
- Chronic Headaches. Have the people in your home been complaining of headaches or flu-like symptoms? Don’t ignore this! Have a professional check your furnace for any indication that carbon monoxide is leaking into your ventilation system.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarm. You’ll be using your furnace a lot in the coming months. If there are any problems with your furnace, your family could be exposed to carbon monoxide. Talk with a technician about installing a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home. Have them tested regularly and replace any that are damaged.
W.G. Speeks can help you with your fall furnace tune-up! We offer a free consultation with our team of NATE-certified technicians. We’ve been proudly serving the Greater Richmond Region for more than 75 years, and we’d love to bring our expertise to your home. Call us today!