When you buy a new car, you probably make plans for it to last for quite a long time. You want it to be able to reliably get you where you need to go and do so with minimal risk of an expensive and costly problem. While construction quality is one thing, any car will experience issues if you don’t take care of it properly. In fact, poor maintenance is one of the primary reasons for premature car failure. All of these statements can be equally applied to your heater as well—if you want it to last, you need to take care of it, and the better care you take of it, the more reliably and efficiently it will serve you.
However, maintenance isn’t something that you do once a year and then forget about. In fact, proper maintenance is an ongoing chore that really never ends. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult either. In fact, by following a few easy maintenance steps and tips, you can enjoy a more reliable and longer-lasting furnace this winter.
Change Your Air Filter
Changing your air filter frequently is one of the single greatest things you can do to increase the reliability of your heater. A dirty air filter does more than just a hindrance to your indoor air quality; it also brings down system performance, causes your system to consume more energy, and even leads to premature total system failure. By checking your filter frequently and changing it when necessary, you’ll improve both your HVAC system’s performance and your overall quality of life.
We recommend checking your filter once a month and then changing it whenever it is dirty. For the average home, this will be every three to four months. Some homes may be able to go longer between changes, while most people may actually need it more often than they might think.
Set Your Thermostat Responsibly
Believe it or not, one of the most important parts of a properly-maintained furnace is operating it in a sensible and low-abuse fashion. Let’s go back to the car illustration again for a moment. When you drive a car aggressively (accelerating to high speeds quickly, slamming on the brakes frequently, cornering as fast as you can, etc.) your car is going to sustain a lot of additional wear and tear. That means not only are you going to have to maintain it more often, but it’ll also experience breakdowns sooner and more frequently. The same can be said for your heater, when you’re constantly pushing it to extremes by setting your thermostat extremely high, then your heater will likely fail sooner.
Setting your thermostat responsibly is easier than you might think: simply set it to your ideal, target temperature and leave it. Don’t crank it up higher to try and heat your home faster; heaters don’t work this way, and you’ll simply waste energy by passing your goal without realizing it. Likewise, if you have separate units for your upstairs and downstairs zones, setting your downstairs unit two degrees warmer than your upstairs unit can create far more even heat throughout your home.
Clear a Radius Around Your Outdoor Unit
Electric heat pumps are surging in popularity. They don’t produce any exhaust, they greatly reduce carbon footprints, and they are tremendously energy-efficient. However, these systems do require some extra care, and that care includes keeping your outdoor compressor free from obstructions that restrict airflow. Before winter begins, take the time to sweep away fallen leaves, sticks, and dust or debris that has accumulated. Likewise, cut away any long grass or plant life that is encroaching on a three-foot radius around your compressor. This will ensure that your heat pump can capture as much heat as possible from the outdoor air, thus making your home more comfortable while using less energy.
Seal Air Leaks
Maintenance may not necessarily mean working directly on your HVAC system. Instead, doing things to other areas of your home can improve your HVAC system’s performance. Insulation is a key factor in heating performance, and improving it will help you save money and enjoy a warmer home. Before the temperature takes a big dip, now is the time to change out worn-out weather seals and replace damaged insulation like caulking. This doesn’t normally take more than an hour or two to do for an entire home, but can save you a substantial amount in energy consumption over the course of the year.
Schedule a Professional Tune-Up
Finally, you shouldn’t slouch on scheduling your professional tune-up service. We recommend doing this every fall, as it’s before you will really need your furnace for the first time, and thus you can avoid the elevated breakdown risk associated with the first heating cycle of the season. Scheduling early also helps you get in before the rush, ensuring your service is performed quickly and effectively with minimal wait.Schedule your heating service with the local pros at Moe Plumbing Service! Dial (818) 396-8002 today.