Winter is here, and while we hope that you’ve taken the precautionary measures we’ve advised you to take in previous months, we realize that other things may have taken a higher priority in your life. No worries! There are still plenty of dreadfully cold days ahead before warmer weather arrives.
That being said, do what you can to keep your home’s heating system running as efficiently as possible for the remainder of the season so that your family can stay cozy and warm, even on those brutally cold, windy, snow-filled days. (That is, unless you live in an area that doesn’t experience “typical” winter weather!)
We’ve put together some tips to help you prevent a variety of common furnace problems in your family’s home. Read on to learn more.
Tip #1: Schedule maintenance for your furnace!
We’ve said it time and time again, but it really can’t be stressed enough just how important it is for you to schedule a yearly appointment for a heating system tune-up. During this maintenance appointment, the trained and experienced technician sent to your home will thoroughly examine all working parts of your unit to be sure things are operating as efficiently as possible. If a problem is detected, it can be taken care of before resulting in a total breakdown of your heater.
Additionally, the technician will ensure that your unit is running safely. This means that he or she will check for any potential gas leaks if your furnace is powered by natural gas. If your unit runs on electricity, the technician will check to be sure that there aren’t any signs of frayed wires or issues that could lead to a fire in your home.
Important: If you smell natural gas in your home, leave immediately. Do not operate anything that could cause a spark, including lights, cell phones, flashlights, and appliances. From a safe location, call 911 and your local utility, which will dispatch a crew to check on the source of the odor and make the area safe.
Tip #2: Regularly change your air filter.
If you aren’t changing your furnace’s filter on a regular basis — e.g., each month, more often if you have smokers or pets in your home — then it’s likely dirty and dusty. This can prevent warm air from being pushed out from your furnace and through the ducts in your home. As a result, this can put extra strain on your heating system and lead to premature wear and tear, as well as potentially an untimely breakdown.
Also, dirty air filters don’t just cause problems for your heating system, but the contaminants found on them can end up in the air your family breathes. This could lead to health problems, especially in individuals who suffer from respiratory issues like asthma.
Tip #3: Make sure your thermostat is working properly.
Your thermostat is responsible for managing the temperature inside your home, controlling when your furnace cycles on and off. If your thermostat isn’t working like it should, you may notice that your home feels much colder than it should, the furnace randomly cycles on/off, or it may not even come on at all.
If your thermostat operates on batteries, you will need to regularly change them to be sure the device has enough power to send the right signals to your heating system. If your thermostat is powered by electricity, you can remove the cover from the unit and check for any visual signs of a problem, such as frayed wiring. Wiring issues should ONLY be diagnosed and repaired by a professional electrician.
Tip #4: Don’t obstruct air flow.
If you haven’t had your home’s ducts cleaned recently, have them serviced by a professional as soon as possible. Many homeowners are surprised by how much dirt and dust get trapped inside their ductwork. When this happens, warm air from your furnace isn’t able to freely pass through the ducts and out into your home. This restricted air flow can cause your furnace to work harder than necessary and may lead to a breakdown.
Additionally, dirty ducts can jeopardize your home’s indoor air quality! Professional duct cleaners will be able to remove built-up dirt and dust from this often-overlooked area of your home.
Tip #5: Don’t overlook warning signs of a problem!
If you’ve noticed an obvious warning sign of a furnace issue, such as loud clanking or banging sounds when running, it’s likely only a matter of time before the unit experiences an unexpected breakdown and your family is left in the cold. At the first sign of a problem, contact a trusted repair professional to diagnose and take care of the issue. Failure to do so could result in an even more expensive problem.
Protect your home’s heating system
To keep this vital appliance protected, Oncourse Home Solutions can provide you with an affordable Heating Repair Plan. When you’re enrolled in the plan and a covered problem occurs, give us a call and we will schedule a time for a trusted, experienced technician to come to your home, treat the issue, and get your home warm and comfortable again.