Heating / March 10, 2020

A Homeowner’s Guide for End-of-Season Furnace Maintenance

Once Spring arrives, you may be tempted to simply turn off your furnace and not give it another thought, but you may set your system up for problems that will come in the Fall. If you can catch issues at the end of this season, you’ll have time to address them, as opposed to having to rush into expensive repair decisions once the cold weather returns again.

Below are some common maintenance tasks you can perform to ensure that your furnace is ready for the next season.

Filter Maintenance
Many homeowners leave the last filter in the furnace until it is time to turn the unit back on in the Fall. This can be a mistake since a dirty filter that sits in the furnace all Summer can become a refuge for mold spores and bacteria. This mold will then blow through your ducts if the filter isn’t changed before the unit is switched back on.

Best Practices
At the end of the season, dispose of the old filter. Take a few minutes to vacuum out any dust that has collected in the filter housing. A shop vac or even the hose on a standard vacuum works well. Slide a new filter into the housing so you are ready for Fall.

Replace Worn Components
There are several components inside a furnace that tend to wear out over time. Some have regular replacement schedules, such as any belts that drive the blower motor. Other components can simply become damaged, such as a cracked burner.

Although you can put off these minor repairs until Fall, you may get stuck waiting for an appointment since furnace technicians will have a lot more calls once the weather cools again.

Best Practices
Unless you are comfortable with HVAC maintenance, the best option is to schedule a professional end-of-season tune-up and maintenance check. The tech will thoroughly inspect your furnace, lubricate any moving parts, and let you know of any issues that could affect your heating next year so you can make repair or replacement plans before the heating season resumes.

Manage Your Fuel Tank
Fuel maintenance isn’t necessary for electric furnaces, but it can be a concern for those that use oil or propane. Oil tanks left mostly empty all Summer can become sludgy from sediment left in the bottom of the tank, which can lead to valve clogs when you try to turn the furnace back on.

Issues with gauges, valves, and pilot lights should also be addressed. Keep in mind that underground tanks have a life expectancy of 15 to 30 years, and above ground outdoor tanks can last about 25 years, depending on the materials they are constructed of.

Best Practices
Underground tanks should be checked for leaks, especially around the fill pipes and in the soil around the tank. Indoor tanks can usually be checked visually since leaks are a bit more obvious. Make sure the valves and covers are in good condition and replace any that seem to be failing.

Do not leave your tank empty over the Summer. You may not want to fill it completely, but you should leave enough fuel in the tank to prevent sludge buildup.

If you take the time to make these updates, you can rest assured that your furnace is ready for the next cold weather season. Contact Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar to schedule an end-of-season maintenance visit today.

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