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This page is dedicated to the questions and inquires I receive concerning home maintenance and repair. Ask the inspector
How do I take care of my furnace in anticipation of winter?
A little maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your furnace working
properly. Start by replacing the filter. With forced-air furnace systems, air
returning to the furnace's blower first passes through an air filter designed to
catch dust and debris and help clean the air before it's recycled to your home.
If you have a reusable plastic or metal filter that is designed to be cleaned, I
recommend throwing it away.
1) Turn off the power to the furnace. There should be a “service switch” within three feet of the furnace, if not turn it off at the thermostat.
A simple reminder to change your filter comes in the mail every month; it is your energy bill. Changing your filter every month keeps your furnace from working too hard and decreases this bill.
Now that you are in the habit of changing the filter let’s discuss thermostats. If you have a digital setback thermostat, do not set the temperature differential more than 3-5 degrees. Any more than this will cause the furnace to work harder to bring the home to temperature and defeat the whole purpose of having a setback thermostat. If you do not have a setback thermostat find a comfortable setting and leave it there, or better yet go buy a setback thermostat. It will pay for its self in the first year.
The next thing you can do for your furnace is have it cleaned and serviced every two years by a professional HVAC company. (The newer high efficiency furnaces have components that are best left to the professionals). This is also a good way to determine if your furnace is approaching its end of life. Typically a furnace has a life of between 17-20 years and just because it heats the house does not mean it’s safe to continue using. With this in mind, if your furnace does fall into this age category, please buy and install CO (Carbon Monoxide) detectors within 15 feet of any sleeping area and as close to the heat registers as possible. It is also recommended to have one on every floor of your home. CO is odorless and colorless and is known as the “silent killer”. If your furnace should fail and start producing CO a detector is cheap insurance and your life is well worth the investment.
The information contained in the article should be considered the opinion of the author and nothing more.
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