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keep your furnace safe and efficient

Most of the time we don’t think about our furnace and all the work it does to keep us warm in the winter. As long as we sit comfortably and warm on our couch we are content. But it’s that time of year again, where we are moving large amounts of heated air through our house. We’ve been told to get maintenance and to change the air filter on a regular basis, but often that’s ignored and forgotten. This can lead to performance issues and can even create a safety hazard.

By keeping a few basic things in mind you can keep your furnace safe, have it perform efficiently and keep your air healthy.

Change your air filter at least every 3 months and inspect them once a month. Why?  As your filter collects various bits of dust, pet hair, and other debris, it will start to clog. Over time, this will build up and make it more difficult for air to pass through. This will cause the blower to work harder, increasing your energy bill and eventually causing the blower motor to overheat and burn out—leaving you without heat. If you have an old furnace, this could potentially lead to a dangerous fire!

A clogged filter also means that it will take longer to heat your home and that rooms further away from the furnace might not get any heat at all.

Choose the right type of air filter at the right time.

  • Air filters with very high levels of filtration put a strain on your furnace blower. You are better off to choose a filter with lower filtration and to replace it more often.
  • Choose a cheap air filter when renovating your home or working on a high-dust project. You can then replace it right after you’re done sanding your stairs. If your project is longer term, make sure to replace the air filter often throughout your project.
  • Buy air filters in bulk and always have a replacement ready. You’ll save a couple of dollars and you’ll have a back-up when you check your filter for debris.
  • Some thermostats can be set to remind you to change your air filter. If that’s not an option, mark it in your calendar so you don’t forget.

Maintain your whole system

  • Make sure to have a yearly furnace inspection done to ensure proper performance and to maintain your warranty.
  • Regularly inspect your furnace venting on the outside of your house and clear it of snow or rocks that your kids might have put in the pipes.
  • If you have a humidifier and/or air exchanger attached to your furnace, make sure to check those filters as well. You won’t have to replace them, but you should clean them regularly and remove buildup. If you don’t know where they are or how to remove and clean those filters, ask your furnace service guy to show you.

Photo courtesy of flikr

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