When winter strikes in the north, the only thing you can think of is coming home to a nice warm house after work. You trust your heater to keep your house warm all winter and hope it runs through the next blizzard. When your furnace quits running, panic ensues throughout the house.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t need to keep the heater repair guy on speed dial if you follow these tips to keep your furnace running.
Change Your Furnace Filter
Most of us don’t even think about this simple task, but as our furnace runs, all the dirt from our house is collected in that filter. This blocks the air flow, causing your heater to work harder than it normally has to. If the filter is too dirty, your furnace can overheat, causing it to shut off.
How do you know if your filter needs to be changed? Hold it up to the window. If you cannot see light through the filter, it should be changed. Putting in a clean filter regularly will extend the life of your furnace.
Lubricate the Blower Motor
Your furnace has a blower motor, that is designed to push hot air throughout your house. When the blower motor gets dry, it doesn’t work well. Take the time at the start of each heating season to oil the blower motor, so the air can move freely through your house.
Check Your Thermostat
Make sure your thermostat is functioning as it should. Your thermostat generally controls the entire furnace by telling it when to turn on, and off. If your thermostat has a low battery or is not working properly, it will throw off the entire workings of your heater. Check not only the batteries but also the little wires to the furnace. Look for breaks, and if you find any, repair them with electrical tape.
Clean Your Drain Lines
Some heaters drain off quite a bit of water during the winter months. These lines can become filled with mould or debris. If your hose looks dirty, remove it from the furnace, and clean it with a bleach (25%) /water (75%) mixture. Rinse it thoroughly to get all the bleach out.
Check Your Vents
It’s easy for outdoor vents to become cluttered with leaves and other debris. Check to make sure yours are free from all debris. From time to time, a bird’s nest has been found in these vents. Make sure you have hardware cloth (1/2″) over the opening to prevent birds and other animals from getting inside. Hose down the vents as needed to keep them clean. If, after you start your heater for the winter, you ever find ice in the vent, you have a larger issue in your heating system. Call your repair guy and let him take a look.
Give Your Furnace an Annual Checkup
Let your repair guy come out before winter, and give your furnace a maintenance check. He will be able to decide if anything needs to be cleaned (like your ductwork) and if everything is in proper working order.
Following these tips will mean less heater repair work and a longer lasting furnace. And it can save you from the utter chaos of losing your heat in January!