5 Heater Maintenance Tips

5 Heater Maintenance Tips

Heater Maintenance Ideas to Increase Your Furnace’s Lifespan

Is there anything that a homeowner can do to keep the furnace running properly? The answer is yes. Some heater maintenance tasks differ between natural gas-powered and electric furnaces, but many steps are the same no matter what the fuel source.

1 Keep it Clean

Like most mechanical devices, dust, dirt, and contaminants tend to gum up the works. Cleaning the furnace and its components will safeguard against strain and wear.

  • Air filters trap airborne contaminants, cleaning the air with every heating cycle. Should the filter trap sufficient dust to clog the filter, this will restrict the airflow necessary to keep a home warm. Make sure to change the air filter at least every three months.
  • With heat pump furnace systems, keep the condenser coil (the outdoor unit) clean year-round. The condenser collects heat from the winter air and brings it inside, so keep it clean for efficient heat transfer.
  • The entire system needs to be cleaned occasionally; the ductwork needs to be cleaned about every 5 years.

2 Schedule Maintenance

The manufacturer calls for annual maintenance, and regular maintenance will serve the systems well.

  • With every cycle, parts experience wear and tear; this is normal. However, wear on one part spreads to other system parts and makes small problems become big problems. Regular inspection uncovers these problems and avoids bigger troubles.
  • Inspections tend to monitor electronic wear and a drop in energy efficiency. Repairs can fix such glitches.
  • The refrigerant gas is essential for heat pump furnaces; checking the refrigerant level avoids sudden failures due to loss of gas.

3 Utilize New Technology

Thermostat technology has developed and improved over the last few years.

  • Analog thermostats looked very much like large metal dots on the wall. They functioned as mere sensors and switches, turning the system off and on, as well as toggling between heating and cooling.
  • Programmable thermostats act very much like alarm clocks. They still sense temperature and call for heating and cooling. But they allow temperatures to be set and changed according to the family’s schedule—a good improvement.
  • Smart thermostats are most like cell phones or, more accurately, cell phone apps. The sensor/switch function remains, but they are more intuitive and provide much more information. This allows a homeowner the ability to adapt the HVAC system to the comfort and needs of the family. It also monitors function or the lack thereof, creating alerts for power outages or system failure.

4 Remember Old Technology

When a home is constructed, the contractor uses the available technology to develop a building envelope to separate the outdoor and indoor spaces. This separation includes moisture and temperature changes.

  • Knowing the insulation material and thickness can explain energy loss. Increasing the R-value of insulation whenever possible will improve comfort and efficiency.
  • Observing the sealant condition around openings can explain drafts and energy loss. Correcting the problem by recaulking window and door trim and weatherstripping as needed.
  • Do not forget to benefit from solar gain. Every calory of energy collected is energy and money saved. Sunny winter days are good days to open drapes and blinds.

5 Manage End of Usefulness

The average useful lifespan of a furnace is about 20 years—annual maintenance has been known to add 5 years to the span. Knowing the age of a system can project a replacement year. Since this is a major purchase, a replacement date can be planned, avoiding sudden failure whenever possible.

Need help with Heater Maintenance? We Can Help! 

Let Doctor Cool help with your Heater Maintenance questions. Call Doctor Cool & Professor Heat today at 281-338-8751 or email Doctor Cool.

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