Heating repair, heating maintenance and unforeseen furnace issues can ruin even the most pleasant winter afternoon. There’s just nothing more pressing than being cold in your own house.
Scheduling a heating maintenance inspection is always a good idea, but there are a lot of simple heating maintenance tasks and look-sees that you can take care of yourself. You’ll spend a lot less time waiting and a lot less money. Here are a few things you should know to get going.
Get the right furnace filter, read the manufacturers specifications, and make sure you change it every month or every six weeks at the longest. Some newer thermostats will even tell you when to change the filters. Remember: if you change your filters often enough you’re furnace should keep running and performing just as you expect it to and help avoid a costly heating repair.
Every furnace is connected to an electric power supply that runs the blower and other moving parts. You need to make sure that this power supply is completely disconnected before doing any of your heating maintenance or repair tasks. You don’t want the motor coming on while you’re working. Check how to cut the fuel and how to get the pilot light re-lit, and cut both fuel and electricity to be safe.
An important and often forgotten during heating maintenance is to vacuum the furnace fan and the easily accessible areas of the furnace. It’s good to do at the beginning of the winter, but particularly important if you live in an urban area or if you notice dust around your home. Dust will collect anywhere, including on fan blades, so you may also want to experiment with slightly finer filters if you notice a build up inside the fan housing.
If the furnace blower is powered by an electric motor and a V-belt you’ll want to check that belt for fraying, dryness or cracks. Replacing a furnace belt and checking the alignment of the motor pulleys at the same time will give you a quieter furnace and mean you’re not replacing belts as often. They’ll wear out much faster if they’re not aligned correctly, but you may need to loosen the pulleys to align the belts correctly. Newer furnaces won’t need any of this kind of attention.
Heating maintenance for oil furnaces should be a similar process. You’ll also want to replace the oil filter and you may even need to bleed any air out of the fuel line. In such a case, you’ll either need to check the owner’s manual or give us a call. Oil furnaces tend to leak oil a little if you don’t look after them, so keep an eye on the fuel lines and any pipe connections for oil.
Periodically check all your outside vents and chimneys. Blockages from snow or debris can create a significant number of problems every year and those can include dangerous situations with carbon monoxide leaking into a house. You’ll want to be sure there aren’t any cracks in your outside venting, or around the connections with walls or roofs.
Heating maintenance for older gas furnaces can also be actually prevented by regularly oiling the motor and the blower shafts. A couple drops should do it every year. Newer models should be OK without the oil but check your manual. And if you haven’t got one, give us a call.
Whatever type of system is heating your home, consider updating your thermostat this year, too. We can show you models that will not only save you energy and money year round but that will keep your home warmer and safer all winter long.