How to Maintain Your Furnace During Winter
A safe home should be one of your highest priorities. Since a malfunctioning furnace could be a disaster waiting to happen, regular maintenance will give you more peace of mind. Particularly during the winter months, checking on the function of your furnace is very important and can easily be done by any home owner.
Before winter even begins, you’ll want to do a thorough inspection of your furnace. Check for gas leaks, insufficient air flow, excessive carbon monoxide, and old oil filters. If you aren’t comfortable doing these things, or don’t have the time, hire a professional to help you.
The most important step, and coincidentally the easiest, that you need to remember to do during winter is to check and replace your filter. The filter should be replaced every few months but there is no set time frame for it. Once your filter looks dirty and seems to be affecting the air flow out of your ducts, it is probably time for a replacement. Make sure to get the right size and to install it in the right direction.
Additional pieces of equipment that you should check regularly are the blower and the motor. Check that the motor belt isn’t too worn out. If it is, the belt is fairly easy to replace. The motor should also be oiled regularly to keep all of the pieces working as well as they can. Also check the blower that it is not full of dirt or grime. If the blower seems too dirty, carefully clean it with a toothbrush or remove it and use an air compressor (outside) to clean it off.
It is important to notice any cracks or leaks in any of the pipes or filters. A small hole can be temporarily repaired with filler or aluminum tape for the flue pipe. But a larger hole will require a complete replacement.
Every home with a furnace should also be equipped with adequate carbon monoxide detectors. Just like with a smoke detector, check the batteries to make sure that your detector is working and can alert you if your furnace is not working properly and releases too much carbon monoxide.
If you are feeling particularly ambitious about your furnace maintenance, you can invest in equipment and kits that will help you to measure the cool down rate of your unit, your gas pressure, and the motor blower amperage. However, these are all tasks that require professional training. The more precautions and measures that you take, the less likely it is that you will be wasting your money on an inefficient furnace. But even a little bit of care can go a long way.
Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics.