Keeping your Furnace Working

One way to keep your energy costs down is to ensure that your home heating system is working efficiently all year around. This may not be the most inspiring job to do on the ‘honey do’ list but nevertheless it’s an important one for a variety of reasons over and above saving some money on your heating bills every month.

So here are a few steps you can take to make sure your furnace is working at maximum capacity:

1.       First of all ensure that you turn off the power supply to the furnace. Once you have done that, then you need to have a look at the filter. Cleaning or replacing the filter should be done on a regular basis and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase at your local hardware store and you will recoup the costs in no time with the energy you’ll save on your home heating bill with a clean filter.

2.    The next thing you want to clean is blower blades and motor body. These components collect a lot of dust and should be cleaned at the same time you clean or replace the filters. You can oil the motor and also have a look at the fan belt. When you press on it, it should give about an inch, if it doesn’t then make slight adjustments until it does. If it looks a bit worn out, then it’s a good idea to replace it as well. Then you can seal opening around the filter with a bit of duct tape to make it more efficient.

3.    Clean out the grills with a vacuum and make sure that all the ducts are clean and take out any clumps of debris or dust as well. You can also duct tape any of the duct work seams if they seem to be loose or if there are gaps.

4.    Test the draft hood to make sure it is operating properly. You furnace needs fresh air to work properly. If it doesn’t then you can have problems with carbon monoxide. To test to ensure there is enough fresh air, first close all the exterior and bedroom doors and windows as well as any dampers on the fireplace or stoves. Then open the interior door to the furnace room. Then open the interior doors between the furnace and the exhaust fans for the kitchen, bathroom, dryer and other vented appliances. Then turn on the furnace and wait a few minutes. Next hold a smoking match or incense two inches from the draft opening. If the smoke is drawn into the draft hood then the furnace is working properly. If the furnace is not venting properly, the smoke will blow away from the hood. If that is the case, then you need to call a professional right away and leave the furnace room window open until it’s repaired.

There are other times when the ‘do it yourself’ approach is not the most advisable when it comes to home heating and furnace repair. So you really should have your furnace looked at once a year and they can then ensure that the more complicated maintenance is preformed including:

•             Checking on the thermostat’s calibration

•             Cleaning the burners and making any necessary adjustments

•             Cleaning the safety, pilot and timer controls

•             Adjusting the pressure regulator

•             Inspecting the heat exchanger

•             Oiling any other of the moveable parts

•             Checking the flue pipe

•             Replaying the supply line filter (oil furnaces)

•             Checking for leaks and carbon  monoxide

Proper maintenance will always pay off in the end with lower heating bills, and less expensive maintenance down the road.

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