How to Take Care of Your Furnace During Winter

Professional Checking Furnace
With its consecutive cold days, winter is taxing on furnaces. Here are some tips on how you can keep your furnace running well during this coming winter.
Lower Your Thermostat Slightly
Lowering your home's thermostat both helps reduce your home's heating costs and eases the load on your furnace. You can expect to save about 3 percent on your heating costs for each degree you lower your thermostat. Not only is that 3 percent more money in your pocket, but it's also a 3 percent decrease in the load your furnace has to handle.
By lightening your furnace's load, you'll help extend its life span. When a furnace isn't overworked, it'll last longer.
Open All Your Heating Vents
Homeowners frequently close heating vents in unused rooms, thinking that they'll save money and energy by not heating those rooms. This normally isn't true, though, and it actually can be detrimental to your furnace.
Closing off vents blocks air from moving through the heating system as it's designed to, and pressure builds up within the system. This pressure makes it harder for a furnace to move air through the system to the rooms where heat is actually desired. The result is that the furnace must overwork to move air, and the home isn't heated as much.
An occasional strain on a furnace won't cause lasting damage. Leaving vents closed throughout winter so that your home's furnace is constantly overworking will strain the furnace and eventually lead to breakdowns, however.
Get Your Furnace Serviced
Just as vehicles require occasional maintenance, furnaces also should be serviced regularly. In general, furnaces that are less than 10 years old should be serviced every other year, and those that are 10 or more years old ought to be serviced each year.
During a service call, a trained technician will inspect the blowers, ductwork, filter and other components for signs of wear. If they notice any, they'll recommend appropriate repairs.
Getting your furnace serviced may set you back a few dollars. These calls are usually highly affordable, though, and investing in a little preventative maintenance could save you from having to buy a new furnace because of a malfunction.
To have your furnace serviced, contact us at Total Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC.
Get Your Home's Air Ducts Cleaned
While a typical service appointment will include checking the air ducts of your home's heating system, it normally won't include cleaning them. Cleaning ducts requires specialized equipment that can reach down the long vents. HVAC service companies usually have this equipment, but it's not always carried on all of their trucks.
If it's been a few years since your home's air ducts were cleaned, cleaning them will remove dust that can build up in the ducts. This dust can restrict airflow, and thereby place an unnecessary strain on your home's furnace. The dust can also enter your home, where it may aggravate allergies, collect on objects and trigger asthma.
Change Your Furnace's Filter
In addition to heating houses, furnaces also act as a whole-house air filter. As air passes through a furnace, dust and other small particles get trapped in a filter that's inside the furnace. The filter is only effective if it's not backed up with debris, though. It periodically has to be changed.
To change your furnace's filter:
  1. Turn the furnace off at the thermostat.
  2. Locate the filter (which is usually behind a small, narrow flap).
  3. Pull the filter out.
  4. Get an identically sized filter at your local hardware store.
  5. Place the new filter in where the old one was.
When you're done, turn your furnace back on and discard the old filter.