Furnace Maintenance Tips for New Homeowners
For many first-time homeowners, they have a steep home maintenance learning curve during the first year of ownership. Fortunately, furnace care can be simple if you start off with a strong maintenance plan.
Learn About Your System
Unless you have purchased a newly built home, chances are your furnace has already been in service for several years. Learn about your heating system so you can know what to expect going forward.
A furnace can last for 20 years or more, but be prepared and 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 visit 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.
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.
Inspection and Tune-Up
The initial inspection provides insight into the condition of your furnace and any issues that may need addressing in the near future. The technician will also perform basic maintenance, which may include lubricating moving parts, cleaning filters and valves, and 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.
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.
Know Your Responsibilities
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.
Several variables affect how often a furnace filter requires replacement. 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 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.
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.
For more help, contact Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar.