Furnace maintenance is like an annual physical for your home’s heating and ventilation system, so to keep problems with your furnace in check, it needs professional methods.
Those methods can include a cleaning on your working parts, and it can set you up to share in the responsibility.
Some would say it’s debatable, but in our opinion, you need a technician to come in and give your furnace maintenance just as much as you need a dentist to clean and spot-check your teeth.
Regular furnace maintenance can provide many benefits for your home and your wallet — and it delays the coming of the day you need a brand new furnace.
Why Your Furnace Might Be Struggling
Your furnace has a lot to contend with while keeping your house warm. In a perfect world, air would be dry and clear of microscopic debris. But the humidity and air contaminants make it a little harder to operate when you need heating the most.
During the winter months, you won’t be cracking the windows like you would in July. That means your furnace will have to pull air through a filter that accumulates debris more quickly. Dust or pet dander that usually escapes through open windows, remains trapped in the winter.
How Maintenance Helps Your Furnace
Maintenance stretches the furnace’s lifespan nicely. Your furnace will wear down eventually, but maintenance stalls that process. Furnace maintenance is a strategic to-do list that preserves the expensive moving parts and sensitive components of your furnace. Professional furnace maintenance comes with a lot of benefits, and it sets you up to do your part as well.
Changing Your Furnace Filter
One of the best ways to make sure your furnace gets the best results from regular maintenance is to take part yourself! Although furnace maintenance should always be undertaken by a certified professional, changing a furnace filter is designed to be effortless and non-technical.
Air filters catch debris like dust, microfibres, pet hair or dander, keeping that debris from getting stuck in the sensitive parts of the furnace’s blower and heat exchanger. In addition to all that your trusted furnace maintenance technician does, you should change your filter out yourself.
It all depends on the material of the furnace filter you’ve chosen. If you’re going with the conventional disposable fibreglass filter, especially if you have pets that shed, you might want to change it out once per month. If you buy the pleated cloth kind, once every 3 months is safe.
So what are the benefits of you and a furnace maintenance professional working together? The benefits that stand out are energy efficiency, reliability, reduced repair costs, better air quality, and safety.
When you get professional HVAC maintenance, you can enjoy improved efficiency that can dramatically lower your heating bill. All the moving parts and components get a little rejuvenated, so your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Better Air Quality
Furnaces circulate air through a house, air that collects dust, dirt, pollen, and microscopic spores from the outdoors. Air filters catch most of this debris, but a fraction is small enough to head into your blower or heat exchanger. Then it’ll pass through the ducting and become the air you breathe. Maintenance removes any debris buildup that’s made it past the filtration system.
Air quality can impact respiratory health, and if someone already has respiratory conditions, air purification might come recommended. The complexity of this added piece of the HVAC system will make maintenance that much more involved and necessary.
Reliability & Longevity
Getting enough furnace maintenance is key to maximizing the useful life of your furnace. Furnaces can only go so far before they develop the wear and tear level that requires parts replacement. As an example, a furnace’s blower motor getting maintenance means that it won’t struggle against dirt and grime buildup.
Reduced Repair Costs
Furnaces are made to last between 15 and 20 years, possibly up to 25 years, but only with diligent maintenance. We don’t see many that old, but there’s always hope for yours. A furnace is a system of interdependent parts. Your furnace’s overall condition might degrade if any component fails to perform. It makes work harder for the other parts to compensate for one failing part.
Getting furnace maintenance allows you to spot a problem in the chain before the failure in one part affects others. You’ll notice that in reduced furnace repair calls in the future. After all, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as the saying goes.
Furnace maintenance is not only essential to a long-lasting heating system, but it’s critical to safety. Your natural gas furnace has a dedicated vent for the exhaust in the system. When natural gas burns, it creates potentially deadly carbon monoxide gas as a byproduct.
Seals, screws, and joints on a furnace’s exhaust vent need a checkup every once in a while — otherwise, the carbon monoxide in the flue (i.e. exhaust) could spread and endanger your home. Every home needs a professional eye for a safety spot check because you might not know each and every warning sign to look out for.
How Often Do I Need Furnace Maintenance?
All in all, the set of practices that come with professional furnace maintenance can have long-lasting effects. In our experience, an annual cleaning combined with your own monthly filter changes comes highly recommended.
The best time for annual furnace maintenance seems to be the Fall. Getting it done in September or October means it won’t overwork in the following winter months.
If you wanted to shoot for that 25-year lifespan, then you might consider twice-annual maintenance visits, with higher quality filters changed out every 3 months. Whatever your take, you can kick back while you get your furnace primed and ready.