Furnace Maintenance Tips For Long Term Usage

Anytime you undertake a significant investment, you want to see some ROI. We can all agree that installing a furnace in your home is a process that takes time and money. Furnace maintenance tips can come in handy to increase the life of your investment.

On the lower side, you will spend anywhere from $700 for a unit. Yet, the cost could go way higher, depending on the type you choose. 

If you search for information about the lifespan of a furnace, you will see results ranging from 15 to 20 years. Please note that this will not apply in all cases. Factors like the quality of the unit and how you use it will determine its longevity. 

Yet, we can all agree that extending the furnace’s lifespan should be a priority. We will share some workable furnace maintenance tips in our article below. 

Furnace next to hot water tanks

1. Learn the Trouble Signs

You can pretty much tell when you’re about to get sick. Some telltale symptoms will let you know. A sudden bout of sneezing, fatigue and headache will tell you that you’re about to come down with a cold. 

Now, take the same logic to taking care of your furnace by following some important furnace maintenance tips. Teach yourself all there is to know about sporting trouble signs early on.  

Let’s take the example that the furnace won’t ignite. It could be a symptom of issues like:

  • Dirty sensors so the furnace won’t kick on when there is a drop in temperature. The dirt makes it hard for the sensor to read the ambient temperature and adjust accordingly.
  • Damage to electrical components whose symptom is when the furnace pilot light won’t stay lit
  • The furnace turns on, but no heat shows the thermostat settings may not be correct.
  • Inefficient heating of the home may mean you need to change the dirty filters to enable proper airflow. 

Knowing how to see the trouble signs early gives you the perfect opportunity to take preventive action. Simple DIY steps like changing the filters may be all you need. In other cases, consider bringing in the experts. 

Some of the maintenance aspects require an expert level of knowledge. Tampering with specific components as you practice your DIY skills could backfire. You can also be sure of spending much more than you would have if you went the expert route instead. 

Man opening furnace case

2. Schedule in Routine Maintenance

Think about how you manage to maintain your personal vehicle. Routine service is part of the cost of owning the car. After a specific number of miles, a visit to the mechanic is a must. Why is this? Well, you know that the normal wear and tear comes with machines of any kind. The service is also the best time to detect and correct any issues with the vehicle.  

The same should apply to your furnace. Do not wait until the furnace won’t turn on before calling in the professionals. Schedule furnace maintenance checkups at the very least once every year. The experts have relevant training to detect any issues. These include those that may not be apparent to you at that particular time. 

They carry out what the experts call a basic tune up of the furnace. This will cover services like:

  • Checking for blockages or leakages in the vents
  • Gas furnace troubleshooting such as combustion gas analysis. They will also carry out a comparison based on the unit benchmark specifications.
  • Ensuring all the relevant seals are in place
  • Visual check for corrosion to the metallic parts
  • Removal of debris and other dirt to avoid blockages
  • Inspection of the electrical elements to check for damage or corrosion
  • Parts lubrication, and much more 

Please do not scrimp on this part of the maintenance. There aren’t enough YouTube tutorials to teach you the nitty gritty aspects of furnace maintenance.  

Man inspecting furnace parts

3. Take On Some of the Work Yourself

It is alright to teach yourself some essential furnace maintenance. You already know some of the trouble signs to look out for. Now take it a step further by learning to care for more minor things. 

Some of the routine maintenance must happen more than once a year. Replacing the filter is a good example. It is a job that you can do on your own and will not take a lot of your time.  

Remove the filter and carry out a visual inspection. It is pretty easy to see the amount of dirt on it. Another fantastic trip is to use the light test. Hold the filter up against a light source. If the light penetrates, then the filter is not in very bad condition. But, if the rays don’t, get ready for a trip to the shop to buy a new filter. 

Please take care when choosing the filter. It should be compatible with your system. You could always carry along the old filter when shopping for a new one. The other option is to note the details very carefully and share them with the shop attendants.  

Putting in the wrong filter could strain your system, resulting in damage. If you are unsure about putting it back in, ask the shop attendants. Many filters also come with an arrow showing the direction they should face when you put them in.  

Teaching yourself such basic skills will increase the lifespan of the furnace. And, this is the good part; what you will save by catching issues early will be pretty significant. 

But, allow us to reiterate a recurring point you must have picked on by now. Please get expert help if you don’t know what you are doing. Reputable installation companies may also offer after-sales services as an incentive to buy. Do take advantage of such services.  

Furnace filter

4. Create an Optimal Operating Environment in Your Home

The furnace already has a tough job of keeping the home warm. Do not put any extra strain on it with the type of environment in the house. What do we mean by this?  

We have talked a lot about the impact of dirt buildup on the furnace above. If you do not keep up with dusting and cleaning, there will be a lot of particles in the air. These will find their way into the furnace, resulting in many issues. 

Avoid having vegetation too close to the furnace filter. Placing the plants at a distance will allow for proper circulation of air. Maintain the same for the outdoor condenser. Leaving space around will allow the fans to ‘breathe.’ 

The same applies to where you place the furniture. You need to ensure that the vent registers stay open all the time. This is an important furnace maintenance tip.

It also helps to be mindful of excess moisture. Corrosion or rusting of metallic parts is a sure recipe for breakdowns. Some critical components like the heat exchanger may end up cracking. The cost of replacing such parts will cause a massive dent in your monthly budget. 

Ensure you have sufficient insulation within the home. The less heat you lose, the less your furnace has to work.  

Furnace vent

5. Only Use the Furnace When Necessary 

A warm house is something we all desire. But, every time the furnace is on, some bills come with it. The units run on fuel or electrical energy. You will notice a significant spike in the bills when you use the furnace.

Cost is just one factor to consider. There is also the associated wear and tear with frequent usage. Let’s go back to our earlier comparison of the car. If the vehicle spends a lot of time in your garage, the wear and tear will be less. 

You can get long-term usage from the furnace by only using it when necessary. If you will be out of the home from morning to evening, is it necessary to have the stove on the whole day?  

Smart home technologies give access to a remote-controlled thermostat. From wherever you are, you can switch on or off the furnace. That way, you can turn it on as you’re leaving the office. By the time you get back, the house will be warm and toasty, just the way you like it. 

The other advantage of programmable thermostats is choosing specific times to have the furnace on. Let’s say you have pets that must stay warm when you are away. You can set a schedule for the furnace to kick in at specific times. 

It gets even better. AI powered thermostats can learn your behavior. It will then adjust the temperature settings just like you would. That frees you from having to make adjustments to the settings. All while enjoying energy savings with intelligent technologies. 

Finally, occasionally give the furnace a break. Do you need to have the stove on during those warmer winter days? Just ensure you have layers to keep you warm, and that should be good enough. 

Programmable Thermostat

Final Thoughts

If you want to enjoy long-term usage of the furnace, it is pretty simple. Take good care of it. This entails ensuring proper furnace maintenance at all times. Teach yourself how to read signs of trouble and some basic maintenance skills. 

Do everything you can to increase the efficiency of the furnace. Finally, think about how often you need to have the furnace on. The less you use it, the longer it will serve you.

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