With all the day-to-day chores and expenses that come with owning a home, it can be easy to neglect your furnace. Many people don’t think about their furnaces until they come home to a cold house. What you might not know, however, is the cost of regular furnace cleaning and maintenance could not only save you money but also let you avoid the stress of dealing with unexpected furnace repairs or breakdowns.
What Is Furnace Maintenance? How Is It Different from Furnace Repair?
While a furnace maintenance appointment can involve repairs, they are not the same thing. Furnace maintenance is like a physical exam for your furnace: an opportunity for an expert to make sure your furnace is healthy and make any adjustments if needed.
During your furnace maintenance, your technician will give your furnace a general tune-up and cleaning. This could include tightening any loose parts, cleaning areas where debris can build up, and examining components for wear and tear.
How Often Should I Schedule Maintenance Appointments?
You should schedule a maintenance appointment for your furnace at least once per year. Annual maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent costly repairs and keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible.
Early fall is a great time to schedule your furnace check-up. A maintenance appointment in the fall will allow any adjustments to be made before the heating demands of winter. It’s one of the best ways to ensure your furnace will run smoothly all winter long.
Why Is Regular Furnace Maintenance Important?
Prevents Expensive Repairs
Furnace maintenance can seem like yet another household expense that you could do without. However, preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run. When a technician performs a maintenance check, they can repair or replace parts before they cause more significant issues.
For example, a condensate drain cleaning for high-efficiency furnaces can help prevent larger (and more expensive) furnace repairs. If a condensate drain becomes clogged, water can become backed up and leak from your furnace. Not only can this damage the flooring and other items in your furnace room, but it could cause serious damage to your furnace. A simple cleaning could prevent this big problem.
Regular maintenance is just as important for standard furnaces too. A seemingly small problem, like a flue at an improper angle, could cause water to leak from your furnace. A simple fix during a furnace maintenance appointment that could prevent a much larger issue.
Increases Furnace Efficiency
A well-maintained furnace will run more efficiently and ultimately save you money on your heating bill. Just like regular doctor’s visits help keep you healthy, regular furnace maintenance will help your furnace perform it’s best.
Small issues can cause your furnace to work harder, meaning it requires more energy (and more money) to keep your home warm. Problems like loose furnace panels can decrease your furnace’s efficiency but are quick and easy for a furnace technician to address.
Keeps Your Family Safe
Most furnaces are powered using either natural gas or propane. These fuel sources work well for heating our homes but can cause significant problems if not properly maintained.
Regular furnace maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your home from potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. Proper maintenance is also important for preventing gas leaks, which can lead to house fires and health issues.
Easy Ways You Can Maintain Your Furnace (& Save Money)
In addition to annual furnace maintenance, there are some other simple things you can do to maintain your furnace.
Change Your Furnace Filter Every 3 Months
One of the easiest ways you can maintain your furnace is by changing your furnace filter at least once every 3 months. You may want to consider replacing it even sooner if you have pets or if you have allergies or asthma.
A clean furnace filter helps to remove allergens from the air and helps your furnace run at peak efficiency. A clogged filter causes your furnace to work harder to circulate air around your home, using more energy and placing additional stress on other furnace components like the blower motor.
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Wear & Tear
The trained eye of a furnace technician will be able to detect which issues warrant repair, but it’s never a bad idea to check on your furnace regularly. After turning your furnace off, simple maintenance items include checking:
- The combustion air opening for blockages
- The flue pipe for corrosion or leaks (standard furnaces)
- The condensate drain for leaks (high-efficiency furnaces)
- The drive belt for cracks or frayed edges
- The pilot light (should be bright blue, not orange or yellow)
- The panels for gaps
If you notice any of these issues with your furnace, especially an issue with your pilot light, it’s likely time to contact a professional for furnace repair. Whether you need a furnace repair or preventative maintenance, Mersey Heating & Air Conditioning has the Right Time™ certified professionals to handle all your furnace needs. Contact us for furnace expertise in Toronto and the GTA area.