Home Maintenance for Fall
It’s time to schedule your annual maintenance for the fall! Maintenance is an important part of your home’s life cycle, and the fall maintenance for your furnace is just as important as the spring maintenance your HVAC needs.
Benefits of Regular Maintenance
You furnace stays dormant throughout the summer. There’s no need for it to operate so it doesn’t. All that downtime leaves an accumulation of dust, shifting of vents and connections, and can even lead to small animals nesting in vents and intakes. Every year, before the cold sets in, it’s important to run a full system test on your furnace. The test will give you the opportunity to fix your furnace before you need it if something is wrong.
The maintenance itself will help identify problems that can occur later on throughout the winter. Fall maintenance inspects parts, operation of each unit, clears feed lines, and gets the dust out of the system. That way, when you finally turn on your system during the first cold snap it operates and runs for the duration of the winter.
What You Can Do
First off: replace the air filter. Your furnace uses the same air filter your air conditioner does in many different types of systems. Even if it doesn’t, that filter has been sitting all summer and has likely accumulated a lot of dust and debris. Air filters are inexpensive and easy to replace. You should also take the time to replace the furnace humidifier wick filter. The humidistat should be set 35% and 40% relative humidity.
If you have floor vents, use a vacuum cleaner to clean out any dust or dirt that has accumulated in them. Take a moment to inspect all your vents (use a camera to snap a picture if you can’t see inside). If the vents are full of dust, dirt, and debris, it’s time to get them cleaned (or face a winter of terrible allergies).
Make sure the area around your furnace is clear. Flammable items such as boxes, papers, and linens or fabrics should be stored elsewhere and there should be a minimum of three feet of clearance around the furnace. Likewise, check in the intake and exhaust vents for your furnace. Any exterior facing vents can have nests inside them from the spring and summer. Be sure to clear these out as, without proper exhaust, temperature can increase beyond tolerances and start home fires.
Finally, test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors to make sure they’re still in good working order. Replace any sensors that are more than 10-years old.
Schedule a Full-Fall Maintenance Service
While the simple things you can do maintain your furnace are necessary, they’re the bare minimum of things needed for proper operation. If you want your furnace to operate efficiently and for as long as possible, you need to have a full pre-season maintenance performed.
This kind of maintenance involves clearing out the burner chamber and testing burn levels to make sure you aren’t wasting fuel (or energy if you’re using an electric furnace). A licensed furnace technician will clean and test the pilot light on your system to make sure that it’s sparking correctly and that your furnace if burning properly.
An inspection of the gas piping and fuel levels from your storage tank is also necessary. Proper maintenance involves an examination for leaks and other damage from the tank to the unit.
A full maintenance takes the time to inspect the blower fan motor, clean bearings, test the thermostat, and ensure that the condensation return host is clear.
Finally, we’ll listen to your system to make sure that it sounds functional. While a issues may still arise during the winter, the best way to prevent broken down furnaces during a cold-snap is to schedule a maintenance before things begin to break!
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