What Maintenance Should I Do on My Furnace?

Do you like having heat in your home during the winter? That’s a rhetorical question; you live in Boise, ID, so of course, you want heat — unless you don’t mind interior icicles. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t really think about their furnace 99.9% of the time. They turn on the heat and go about their day. But once it breaks, they’ll start checking the weather forecast to see if they can expect frostbite in the living room.

Thankfully, a little furnace maintenance goes a long way! Let’s go over what you need to do to keep your furnace going:

Call the Experts

First of all, furnaces need an expert’s touch. A professional technician has the know-how to service a furnace in the best and most effective manner possible.  

A qualified HVAC technician will work with you to develop an annual furnace maintenance checklist to touch on the major points for your furnace. Depending on your furnace’s age and condition, you may not need to schedule multiple visits every year – one will usually be plenty. 

It’s not a good idea to go longer than a year without maintenance. However, there are a few simple tasks that you can do to protect your furnace in between your annual service visits.

Replace the Furnace Filter

One of the fastest and most important things you can do to keep your furnace running in tip-top shape is to replace the furnace filter on a regular basis. After all, you don’t want particulates, bacteria, or mold spores building up in your vents. 

If those unpleasant things are happening, it could be a sign that your furnace is getting close to needing a replacement. It could also just be a clogged filter. If you’re not sure whether you would benefit from a more advanced air filter, your technician can talk you through the best options for your specific needs.

Check the Fans

Fans wear out, so having them replaced or maintained is essential for keeping good airflow. If you’re having regular maintenance done, an HVAC tech will lubricate them to keep them running properly. 

Your inducer and your blower fans can build up dust, debris, and various gunk that will slowly grind them to a halt! Proper maintenance can keep that from happening.

Clear the Vents

Part of good heater maintenance is checking the easily fixed stuff first. While you want your fans blowing properly, they have to have somewhere to blow! If there are obstructed vents in your house, your furnace could be working overtime. 

Thermostats may be set high, but if the vents are blocked, the furnace will chug away, never making the room any warmer. Sometimes, carpets or furniture are the culprits, but vents can be clogged or obstructed by foreign objects, too.

Remove any obstructions and commit to checking your vents every few months to make sure they have free flow. If you suspect a blocked duct, it’s a good idea to call out an HVAC company.

Check for Corrosion on the Heat Exchanger

The operational life of a furnace is 15 to 20 years, so there are plenty of opportunities for damage to build up over that time. 

The heat exchanger, in particular, is susceptible to corrosion because of places where different metal parts are fastened together. Metal contracts and expands with temperature changes, and over time, that can work parts loose and allow moisture to seep in. An HVAC tech can check your heat exchanger for signs of developing corrosion. 

Checking the Thermostat

If you’ve had the experience of turning up the temperature on your thermostat but never getting any warm air, it could be that your thermostat is malfunctioning.

It might be that the thermostat can’t register the right temperature, the connection with the furnace itself is broken, or some other issue.

General Cleanup

The area around furnaces needs to be kept free of flammable objects. Furnaces create a lot of heat — it is their job, after all. How close is too close? Well, that can vary a little based on the age and type of furnace or heater you have. 

Anything in the general vicinity that could catch fire should be moved away from the unit.

Natural Gas Furnace Maintenance

There are specific maintenance needs for gas furnaces, and one of the main tasks is checking the exhaust flue. If it’s blocked, nasty gasses like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide can build up in your home. 

These can lead to dizziness, headache, nausea, heart issues, and yes, even death. You want this vent clear! Burners and flame sensors need regular cleaning, too, a task that can be done during your seasonal maintenance visit. 

Electric Furnace Maintenance

There may not be any gas burning in electric furnaces, but there are still plenty of safety issues to monitor. All electrical wiring and controls need to be inspected for shorts, frays, and general wear. 

Getting on a furnace maintenance schedule will help you stay ahead of these issues before they pop up. 

Trust TSS Home Comfort in Boise, ID

There’s no reason to go through another frigid Boise, ID, winter with an inefficient, soot-spewing furnace. Give TSS Home Comfort a call and get on a maintenance schedule today! 

When you ask yourself, “What maintenance should I do on my furnace?” remember that your most important tool is your phone. Call us! We’ll inspect your furnace and see what your specific needs really are. TSS Home Comfort is here for you!