Getting the most out of your furnace is important for two reasons and both put money in your pocket. First, your furnace is an investment the same as your home, your car or a swimming pool and needs upkeep just like any investment. Taking care of your investments means routine maintenance and proper use to extend their life. Second, a cared for furnace operates more economically. Here's how to get the most out of your furnace.
Of all the things you can do to get the most out of your furnace, changing or cleaning the filter is at the top of the list. Disposable filters need to be changed at least once a month and cleanable ones need to be cleaned just as often. A clogged or dirty filter will impede the air flow and cause the furnace to overwork, thereby shortening its life.
• Stop Air Leaks
The more air leaks in your home, the harder your furnace must work to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat. Use weather stripping and caulking at all doors and windows and close the vents in your attic and basement during the winter.
If you use a fireplace, learn the best setting of the damper to keep from losing heat up the chimney. Close off rooms you are not using and keep the heat and return air vent in those rooms closed.
• Have Sufficient Insulation
Check the insulation in the attic and under floors to be sure it is adequate and in good shape. If you live in an older house you may need more insulation in your walls which can be blown in from the attic and will pay for itself in a hurry. Small animals have a way of finding an entrance into your home and often damage insulation on your duct work, causing loss of warm air and working the furnace harder. Use scraps of insulation and duct tape to repair it.
• Yearly Maintenance
At least once a year your furnace needs to be serviced and cleaned because lots of dirt, dust and dead bugs can accumulate here. Unless you run into a problem you can do most of it yourself by removing the covers of the blower and motor and using a vacuum to either suck up the dirt and dust or to blow it out of the blower assembly, belts and pulleys to blower, and the motor housing. Check your belts to make sure they aren't too loose or frayed and replace any that are. Make sure your pilot light is working properly.
Have your duct work blown out by a professional once a year to remove dust and other things that will interfere with the air flow of your furnace.
Set your thermostat at sixty-eight-degrees and leave it there. Adjust your clothing to stay warm instead of the thermostat. Constantly turning it up and down wastes energy, doesn't efficiently control the temperature in your home and cause needless wear and tear on the furnace. If you find sixty-eight is too cool, adjust the thermostat up a few degrees until you find a comfortable setting.
These are all simple things that all homeowners should do to protect their investment. Most are just plain old common sense and will help you get the most out of your furnace for years to come.