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Practical Tips For Avoiding Costly Furnace Repairs

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Transitioning from renter to owner when you purchase your own home can be an exciting time for everyone, but it comes with its own learning curve. As a renter you probably didn't give your furnace a lot of thought and grew accustomed to leaving its repair and maintenance to the landlord. As a homeowner, you now must assume the responsibility for how well your furnace works and learn to take measures to prevent costly furnace repairs.

Yearly Servicing and Cleaning

One of the most important tasks you can do to keep your furnace operating properly is to have it serviced at least once a year by your HVAC professional. The best time to do this is in the fall well before your heating season begins. The service person will check that the furnace is in good condition and that all parts are working properly. He will also replace or clean filters, nozzles and belts if needed and advise you of any potential problems with your furnace. A routine cleaning once a year prevents problems and heads off costly repairs or chilly nights spent waiting for the heating repair technician to arrive.

Day-to-Day Maintenance

Yearly servicing ensures that your furnace is safe and ready for use at the beginning of the season, but that is not all your furnace needs to keep it operating smoothly and efficiently. It needs a little help from you throughout the season.

  • Keep Filters Clean: If you have pets, you already know that pet hair can travel freely through the air to nearly all parts of your home. This may pose a problem with your furnace as it draws air from inside your home into the furnace where it is heated and recycled throughout the house. Pet hair and other household dust and debris can clog the filter of your furnace restricting airflow and decreasing the furnace's efficiency. Cleaning the filters regularly improves the performance of your furnace.

  • Keep Vents and Registers Open: It may be tempting to close off the vents to areas of the home that are unused or require less heat, but this can backfire when it comes to heating your home efficiently. If you want to close off heat to certain parts of the home, adjust the dampers in the duct work instead. You can typically find dampers near the furnace at the beginning of each branch of the duct work. If your heating system lacks dampers, your local HVAC dealer can install new ones for you and advise you on how to use them.

  • Avoid Turning the Heat Down Too Low: While it seems logical to turn the thermostat down as low as possible to save energy while you are away from home or at night while everyone is sleeping, this too can cause problems for you furnace. When the furnace is tasked with raising the temperature more than a few degrees, it places undue stress on the system and may lead to breakdowns and repairs in the future. Be kind to your furnace and avoid extreme variations in temperature settings. Lowering the thermostat a few degrees while sleeping or at work is fine. In fact, Natural Resources Canada recommends setting your thermostat to 17°C during the night or when you are away from home and at 20°C when you are home.

  • Keep the Fuel Tank Full: While keeping the tank filled to the top may not be practical or feasible, allowing it to get low can cause issues of its own. Low fuel levels can cause condensation to occur in the tank or put you at risk of running out of fuel on a cold winter night. Priming and restarting the furnace due to running out of fuel also places increased stress of the furnace and forces it to work harder to reheat your home.

Keeping your furnace in good operating condition prevents dealing with breakdowns and costly repairs during the winter when you need the furnace the most. By doing your part you can decrease the chances of waking up to a cold house when the furnace fails or when you run out of fuel. Contact a business like Cydcom Services Ltd. – Heating & Air Conditioning Furnace Repairs if you have specific questions.