Heating / November 2, 2022

Annual Furnace Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners

Many first-time homeowners have a steep learning curve during the first year of ownership, learning the ins and outs of owning a home. Annual furnace maintenance is important to keep your system functioning properly and running as efficiently as possible.

Performing regular maintenance helps keep energy bills from going up. The reason for this is if a heating system is not working correctly, the furnace has to work harder to maintain the set temperature. The harder the system has to work the more energy that is used, thus increasing your utilities. 

How often should you do furnace maintenance or schedule service?

Whether you are performing simple checks yourself or having an HVAC professional perform an annual service, it’s important to take a look at your furnace in the fall before the heating season begins.  

Regardless if you are a new homeowner or someone who has owned their home for a while, having a yearly furnace maintenance plan is important.

What a Homeowner Needs to Know

Furnace maintenance isn’t a one-and-done task, as your maintenance plan will reveal. Fortunately, the tasks that fall on your shoulders are relatively simple so they can be incorporated into your normal home care routine without much effort.

When it comes time for a maintenance check, there are at least 5 things a homeowner should know about their furnace.

  1. Age
  2. Type of furnace
  3. When to change your air filter
  4. What to monitor
  5. Scheduling an inspection once a year

A furnace can last for 20 years or more, but be prepared to have a replacement plan in place once the furnace reaches the 15-year mark. The most accurate method for determining the age of your furnace is to locate the serial number on the unit. You can then contact the manufacturer, and they can provide the year of manufacture for your model. If you can’t find a serial number, you may be able to determine the age from service visits or inspection stickers placed on the unit by previous technicians.

You must know what type of furnace you have in order to ensure that you follow the proper maintenance schedule. Electric and gas are very common, but oil is also a possibility.

Filter Changes
Several variables affect how often to replace the air filter.

  • If you have pets in the home, suffer from allergies, or live in a dusty neighborhood, you may need to change the filter monthly.
  • On the other hand, if you run the furnace sparingly and have a few air quality issues, then your filter may last for up to four months before it requires replacement.

The average replacement schedule for a particular filter is printed on the packaging and typically ranges between one and four months. Use this number as a guide but check the filter monthly to be safe. If the filters look dingy or have debris, go ahead and change it. Better air quality and more efficient heating will reward you.

What to Monitor 
Gas and oil furnaces benefit from extra monitoring. Once a month, check the pilot light to ensure it burns a steady blue. A flickering flame, a flame that goes out easily, or a flame that is any color, but blue indicates a problem that a technician should address immediately. Also, place a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace for the sake of safety.

Schedule an Inspection
Generally, a furnace performs best if you have a professional inspect it and perform a tune-up on an annual basis. Schedule your first inspection and tune-up soon after moving in, then continue to schedule an inspection yearly before the heating season commences.

What Does Annual Furnace Maintenance Include?

Inspection and Tune-Up
The inspection provides insight into the condition of your furnace and any issues that may need addressing in the near future.

The HVAC technician will also perform basic maintenance, which may include:

  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Cleaning filters and valves
  • Servicing any burner components

If problems are found during the inspection, your technician can often fix them immediately. Otherwise, a second visit will be necessary to address the repairs.

Annual Furnace Maintenance Checklist

When our team is scheduled for a furnace inspection, there is a 13-point tune-up checklist that is typically followed. The goal is to ask the appropriate questions to help diagnose and determine what is causing the issue if any at all.

Types of questions asked about your heating & cooling system

  1. What issues appear to be occurring?
  2. Has indoor air quality declined?
  3. How long has the heating system been not performing 100%?
  4. How often has your HVAC system been serviced?
  5. How often are the filters replaced?

What Happens During an Evaluation?

Afterward, our technicians asked the basic questions, and a thorough evaluation of your heating and cooling system is conducted:

  • Test operation of the current system (checking for unusual noises, smells, or general operation issues)
  • Test airflow
  • Test thermostat controls
  • Inspect filter(s)
  • Test gas pressures
  • Test voltages/amps
  • Inspect ductwork
  • Evaluate refrigerant levels
  • Evaluate interior components of the system for failing parts (such as compressor, control board, blower motor, heat exchanger, run capacitor, etc.)
  • Evaluate interior components for cleanliness (such as cooling coil, blower wheel, etc.)

After the evaluation, our experts will present their diagnosis for any potential issues. While the technician is onsite, a quote will be provided for options to get your HVAC system repaired and in good working order.

Creating a Maintenace Schedule

Fortunately, furnace care can be simple if you start off with a strong maintenance plan.

Your technician can help you develop a maintenance plan going forward. The plan will include items such as filter replacement frequency, duct cleaning, burner inspections, and lubrication needs. Some items on the plan, such as filter replacement, are jobs you can complete, while others may require the assistance of your furnace tech.

Need to Schedule Your Furnace to be Inspected & Cleaned?

Ensure that your heating system is up to par for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. Schedule and book online for an inspection today and ask about our current tune-up offers.

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