Your furnace is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” items that sits tucked away in a furnace closet, basement or attic, and magically supplies comfort during the heating season. Every winter it delivers that warm, soothing wave of heat from the registers on cold, blustery days. Until one day, maybe it doesn’t… and suddenly you and your family are uncomfortable and inconvenienced. While gas furnaces are developed and tested to run reliably for years, routine furnace service and regular maintenance are the keys to keeping your heating system running at its highest efficiency and improving its life expectancy. Ignoring routine furnace maintenance can cause higher utility bills and reduced comfort, and make the furnace components work harder, leading to reduced life expectancy, and in some cases, a total shutdown or system failure.
While most average homeowners can handle simple air filter cleaning or replacing, calling a local, qualified HVAC system professional for regular furnace service and equipment checks can help ensure reliability and longevity, and in some cases prevent larger issues from developing. Either way, if you want to keep your furnace heating for years to come, don’t forget to keep it serviced and maintained regularly.
All heating systems have some level of air filtration. From the most basic, 1-inch filter in the blower cabinet, to the larger, 4-inch media filter often in its own cabinet outside the furnace, to the more sophisticated electronic air cleaners and air purifiers, all require some basic maintenance. These filters help with indoor air quality by trapping airborne pollutants flowing through your system. They can also keep your system performing well by helping reduce the buildup of dust, dirt and other particles from accumulating on internal components like the blower motor, burners and heat exchanger.
When filters aren’t replaced or cleaned regularly, they can become clogged with debris that can restrict airflow, potentially affecting your comfort and your system’s efficiency. Dirty filters can cause extra wear and tear on furnace components and in more extreme cases cause the system to shut down completely. By comparison, checking and replacing a furnace filter can usually be done in just a few minutes, often with no tools required. As a precaution, before cleaning your furnace filter, be sure to turn off the furnace either at the thermostat or using the power switch, typically mounted on the side of the furnace.
In addition, it’s highly recommended to have a regularly scheduled furnace tune-up performed by a qualified HVAC professional. Your local dealer will open up the furnace and do a more extensive cleaning of vital components, check furnace heating temperatures, and look for other signs of potential issues that could lead to trouble down the road.