Having a working furnace is essential during the cold winter months. Without proper care and maintenance, your furnace could break down at the worst possible time, leaving you without heat. Prevent problems and keep your furnace running efficiently with these furnace maintenance Portland tips.
Change the Filter Regularly
One of the easiest ways to maintain your furnace is to change the air filter regularly. A dirty filter forces your furnace to work harder, wasting energy and putting more wear and tear on the components. As a general guideline, you should replace the filter every 1 to 3 months. If you have pets or there is a lot of dust in your home, you may need to change it more frequently. Mark the date on your calendar so you remember. Replacing a furnace filter takes just a few minutes, is inexpensive, and goes a long way toward extending the life of your system.
Have Your Ducts Cleaned
While you’re thinking about airflow, look into having the ductwork professionally cleaned. Dust, pet hair, and other debris can build up over years of use. Having your ducts deep cleaned improves airflow and captures dust before it can circulate through your home. This is usually done by a professional service that uses specialized vacuums and tools. It’s a bit more expensive than replacing a filter, but a thorough duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years can capture a lot of gunk, keeping your furnace from working at peak efficiency.
Service Your Furnace Yearly
Just like changing the oil in your car, having your furnace professionally serviced each year saves money over time. During a tune-up appointment, the HVAC technician will inspect components for wear and tear, check for leaks or cracks, lubricate moving parts, replace filters, and perform other maintenance. This is the best way to find and fix minor issues before they lead to system failures or safety hazards. Investing in yearly maintenance helps your furnace last 20 to 30 years or longer.
Look Into HVAC Maintenance Plans
Many HVAC companies offer annual service plans that cover 1 to 2 routine maintenance appointments per year at a discounted rate. This protects your budget from surprise repairs. The technician will perform essential preventative maintenance and prioritize your repair calls if issues pop up. Protection plans often pay for themselves over time when compared to calling for each repair individually at full price. Ask your HVAC pro if they offer maintenance plans you can enroll in.
Keep the Area Around Your Furnace Clear
Take a peek at the area around your furnace. Are there boxes crowded near it or miscellaneous junk piled on top? Give your furnace some breathing room by keeping a 2 to 3-foot clearance in front and around the sides. Covering intake vents or blocking airflow causes strain. Removing clutter lets air circulate freely. While you’re inspecting the area, check that nothing is obstructing the exhaust vent outside. Keep plants, mulch, snow, nests, and other debris well away from the exterior vent opening.
Replace the Furnace Filter Before Vacation
Here’s a furnace maintenance tip to remember for your next vacation. Before you head out of town, replace the filter in your furnace, even if it doesn’t quite need it yet. That way, there is less strain on the motor for the week or two that your house is empty. You return home to a cleaner filter that’s ready to keep going for a while. Making this small effort prevents wasted energy and extends the life of your HVAC system.
Staying on top of these basic furnace maintenance steps goes a long way toward preventing issues, keeping operating costs low, and helping your furnace run smoothly for over 20 years. Mark the tips that made sense for your situation on next year’s calendar and revisit them as each season rolls around. With proper care and maintenance, your furnace will keep your home nice and cozy through many winters to come without breaking down.