Your furnace provides your home with an essential source of heat throughout the winter, and it helps you to create and maintain a comfortable, healthy climate on even the most frigid days of the year. Because of your reliance on your heater for many long months, you understandably need to ensure that the equipment is in good condition. After all, a damaged or poorly maintained system may not be the reliable heat source that you need it to be. There are also health risks associated with using a heater that is not well-maintained. By taking a few important steps, you can prepare your heater for heavy usage in the months ahead and ensure that it is in good condition.
Get an Annual Inspection
Many homeowners are not aware of the need to schedule an annual heater inspection, but this should be an important task in any home maintenance schedule. The best time of year to schedule an inspection with a licensed HVAC technician is in the fall before you use the system for the first time. Through an inspection, you can determine if your system has a gas or carbon monoxide leak. Both of these serious issues could have fatal consequences. You can also identify developing issues before they become problematic. Remember that a broken heater may result in your home’s temperature dropping to an uncomfortable and even potentially dangerous level.
Schedule Maintenance Service
While a furnace inspection will tell you more about the condition of various components in your heating equipment, maintenance service goes a step above and beyond. Essentially, it may restore your equipment to like-new condition. Through professional equipment maintenance, the functional components will be cleaned so that they can work properly. This can reduce stress on other components, and it may improve indoor air quality. Maintenance may also reduce the risk of your equipment developing a gas or carbon monoxide leak in the months ahead when you are heavily relying on your heater for warmth.
Replace Air Filters Regularly
As your heater blows warm air throughout the home, it collects various particulates and pathogens. This may include pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, dust and more. In addition to impacting your heater’s ability to work efficiently and effectively, this filth may cause illness in the home’s occupants. Air filters are less effective at removing debris from the air when they are dirty. A rule of thumb is to replace air filters monthly. If you have reusable air filters, they should be thoroughly cleaned monthly. For the best results, invest in HEPA filters that are able to remove more particulates from the air.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A damaged heater can leak carbon monoxide into your home, and this could have serious health consequences or even fatal results. This is a clear gas that has no odor, so there is no significant way to determine its presence in your home without assistance. It may initially cause headaches, nausea, confusion, and dizziness, but it ultimately could lead to death. Carbon monoxide detectors work in the same way that smoke detectors work. They are installed on the wall or ceiling in strategic locations throughout your home. The alarm will go off when carbon monoxide is detected. If this happens, you should leave the home immediately and request emergency service from an HVAC technician. You should not re-enter the home until repair work has been completed and until the home has been aired out.
Your home’s heating system must be in great condition in order to do its job effectively and efficiently. It also needs to be well-maintained in order to reduce related safety risks. As you can see, there are numerous steps that can be taken to make sure that your furnace works properly throughout the winter. Because each of these steps provides you with unique benefits, consider incorporating all of them into a comprehensive furnace maintenance plan.