Let’s face it–most of us don’t think too much about our furnace until the cold weather comes, but unfortunately, this approach can often lead to costly problems. It’s much better for you to stay ahead of the game by regularly scheduling a furnace maintenance “tune-up”, as this can prevent a lot of unpleasant surprises down the road. Below are some key points that illustrate why regular furnace maintenance is so important.
1. It will ensure optimal furnace performance.
Like any other machine, furnaces are comprised of several components that interact with one another. If these parts are not regularly inspected and maintained, they can be subject to damage, poor performance or outright failure. Just like you wouldn’t expect your vehicle to perform well if you never took it in for an oil change or a tune-up, your furnace cannot perform at its optimal level if it is not properly maintained. Neglecting basic furnace upkeep can lead to problems that can not only be costly, but also potentially hazardous.
2. It can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Building on the previous point, one of the main hazards of neglecting furnace maintenance is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly if you’re exposed to it for a prolonged amount of time. While all gas furnaces emit a very small amount of carbon monoxide as a by-product of internal combustion, this gas is normally directed outside of the home by way of exhaust vent pipes. However, a neglected furnace can lead to a litany of problems, any one of which can develop into a serious health hazard. Typical issues that can arise from a poorly maintained furnace can include:
* Insufficient or restricted airflow* Gas pressure at incorrect levels* Inadequate or poor ventilation* Cracks or leaks in the combustion chamber* Cracks or leaks in the heat exchanger* Safety devices that malfunction
3. It can lower your energy bill.
Keep in mind that during the summer, your furnace pretty much lies dormant, making it easy for dust and debris to begin accumulating within the furnace elements. This can hinder the performance of your furnace by the time the cooler months come around, to where it will have to work harder to produce the same output. By scheduling a furnace tune-up before the heating season begins, you can identify potential problems and remedy them before they can cause trouble for you at an inconvenient time.
4. It can extend the lifespan of your furnace.
Just like performing routine maintenance on your vehicle will extend the lifespan of its engine, regularly maintaining your furnace will ensure that it continues to perform at its optimal level. Your furnace contains several interconnected parts that are quite complex, and even if one small element of your furnace begins to malfunction, it can hinder the effectiveness of the entire system and create more costly problems down the road. If you want to maximize the useful life of your furnace, be sure to keep it properly maintained.
5. It can help you identify problems that can hinder the performance of your furnace.
Scheduling a regular furnace tune-up can help you stay up to speed on any problems that could potentially hinder your furnace from operating at peak efficiency. Some of the most common problems along these lines are:
* Blower motor bearings grinding together (lubrication is needed)* Loose duct work due to temperature-related expansion and contraction* Clogged or dirty air filter* Burners that are not properly firing* Wiring harnesses being loose or detached.
Basic Furnace Maintenance: What You Can Do
As mentioned earlier, the finer details of furnace maintenance are quite complex, and should only be handled by a licensed professional. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do in the meantime to ensure that your furnace continues to operate efficiently. One of the best (and easiest) things you can do is to replace the air filter on your furnace. You would be surprised at how much of a difference the air filter can make in the quality of your indoor air. Most manufacturers recommend that you change your furnace air filter every three months, but if you are a smoker or live in a house with pets, you might need to change your filter out more regularly. A good rule of thumb is to make every 3 months your minimum time frame, but still check your air filter every month and be ready to replace it more frequently if need be.
As you can see, there are several reasons why performing regular furnace maintenance is important. If you haven’t scheduled a furnace tune-up in recent memory, be sure to get it done soon, as it could prevent a host of expensive problems in the future.