Gas-fired furnaces are a top choice for central heating in freezing climates. With winter temperatures in De Pere, WI, dipping as low as eight degrees Fahrenheit, most locals rely on these appliances. Gas furnaces provide rapid heating, burn hotter than heat pumps and electric furnaces, and offer even and consistent heat distribution. Many of the latest and most efficient models are also incredibly clean-burning. To help you extend the lifespan of your gas furnace, the following are eight essential furnace maintenance tips.
1. Check and Change Your Furnace Filter Often
Most homeowners think that HVAC air filters exist to protect or improve their indoor air quality (IAQ). Although these components provide limited IAQ benefits, they’re meant to save heating and cooling equipment. If you run your furnace with a dirty filter installed, loose bits of debris can break off and enter your heating system. The result can include clogged intake valves, a dirty thermocouple, start-up problems, and overheating.
Most furnace manufacturers recommend changing this component every one to three months. However, in De Pere, winter is both harsh and long. Gas furnaces often run day and night and work hard for four to five months. Constant use makes it best to inspect your filter monthly and change it every 30 to 45 days as needed. If you have pets in your home, active construction in your area, or other IAQ issues, you may even want to check and change your furnace filter every 21 to 30 days.
2. Take Care of Problems as Soon as They Rear Their Heads
Don’t wait until seemingly minor problems spiral out of control. Suppose your house is flooded with a burnt, dusty odor each time you turn your furnace on. If that’s the case, then it is time to inspect the appliance and have it professionally tuned up. You should schedule furnace service as soon as you notice whistling or shrieking sounds during operation, rattling or clanging noises in your air ducts, longer-than-normal heating cycles, hot and cold spots, or other indications of distress. Scheduling timely repairs can lower total repair costs and prevent premature furnace failure.
3. Schedule Professional Furnace Maintenance Annually
All fuel-combusting appliances need annual maintenance and tune-up service. These services reverse much of the wear that furnaces have sustained during prior heating seasons. Our technicians eliminate airflow obstructions, remove build-ups of dirt and other debris from exterior and interior components, and replace missing, malfunctioning, or damaged parts. We also assess the integrity of furnace venting systems to ensure resident safety. Furnaces that receive annual maintenance from licensed HVAC companies tend to last far longer than those that do not.
4. Keep Your Outdoor Vents Free of Debris
When gas-fired furnaces burn fuel, they produce carbon monoxide (CO) and other emissions due to incomplete combustion. These emissions are considerably minimized in high-efficiency, gas-fired furnaces with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 98.5%. However, even the very best of these appliances still produce CO. They must have an attached venting system for routing them outdoors.
You’ll likely find your furnace’s vent on the side of the building just near your home’s foundation. However, some homes have furnace vents on their roofs. No matter where yours is located, keep the surrounding area free of twigs, leaves, silt, and frozen precipitation. If your vents are on the roof, scheduling regular roof maintenance is essential. It’s also important to remove heavy snow loads regularly.
5. Avoid Negative Air Pressure
One way to minimize the amount of work your gas furnace must do to heat your home and keep it heated is to tighten the building’s envelope. Installing new, high-efficiency windows, adding more insulation, and closing up air leaks in building materials are all effective envelope-tightening measures. However, making your home envelope too tight is also risky.
With appliances and exhaust vents constantly removing air from the building, you can accidentally create negative air pressure by simply turning your range hood vent or overhead bathroom fan on. With negative air pressure, exhaust gases like carbon monoxide are pulled down venting systems and back into indoor areas until air pressure is balanced. Not only can this prove downright deadly if your CO alarms aren’t working correctly, but it will also place much undue stress on your furnace. Whenever you upgrade your home efficiently, work with professionals to ensure adequate ventilation and little likelihood of air pressure problems.
6. Take Care of Chronic or Severe Humidity and IAQ Issues
Central HVAC systems filter indoor air and extract excess humidity. However, they don’t eliminate all IAQ concerns and aren’t meant to add moisture to the atmosphere. Residents could contend with frequent bloody noses, stuffy nasal passages, sinus irritation, and more if their living space becomes overly dry during winter. Dehydrated indoor air is also rough on central heating equipment. Moisture weighs airborne particulates down and causes them to settle on indoor surfaces. In dry air, there’s usually more dirt, dander, hair, and other particulates entering heating systems.
Furnaces can also sustain extra wear and develop faster debris build-ups in overly moist conditions. Even when your furnace runs, you might have an excessively humid home due to many steamy cooking projects, multiple residents taking hot baths or showers, dryer use, or other moisture-generating activities. Imagine condensation on your walls and windows or recurring problems with mildew or mold. In that case, your furnace is suffering, too.
Integrated HVAC accessories are IAQ improvements installed on or in HVAC air ducts. These include:
- Whole-house humidifiers
- Whole-house dehumidifiers
- Media filters
- Air scrubbers
- Air purifiers
Finding the fitting addition for your home won’t just improve your IAQ. It will also limit stress on your gas-fired furnace, reduce the risk of costly repairs, and extend your heater’s lifespan.
7. Use a Smart Thermostat for Temperature Control
Even when the outside temperature is below freezing, you might not need to run your furnace all the time. For instance, if there are periods throughout the day when no one is home, setting your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees lower comfortably may be possible. Slightly lowered temperatures will keep your home warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing while reducing overall energy use and saving you money.
If you have a smart thermostat installed, you can program this device to change the temperature according to your schedule. It will also raise your temperature setting just before you arrive so that your home feels warm and cozy right when you walk in. With less work, gas furnaces controlled by smart thermostats tend to sustain less wear throughout the years.
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled learning devices. You can track and adjust your thermostat remotely using its branded mobile app. These devices also send timely reminders for professional tune-up service and filter changes.
8. Clean and Maintain Your HVAC Air Ducts
Even if your furnace is in excellent condition, it will consistently underperform if your HVAC air ducts are dirty, advanced in age, ill-suited to your HVAC equipment, or overrun with pests. To avoid duct-related furnace problems, have your HVAC air ducts inspected annually and replaced every 15 to 20 years. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), having your HVAC air ducts professionally cleaned every two to three years is also a good idea.
Residents of De Peres, WI, can count on us for expert heaters, air conditioners, and indoor air quality services. We also provide HVAC air duct cleaning, ductless mini-split systems, and preventative maintenance plans. To schedule an appointment for gas furnace maintenance, contact Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC now.