Two Fall Furnace Maintenance Items To Take Care Of Before Winter

With fall comes colder days that may have required you to turn on the furnace for the first time in months. Although spring is commonly associated with cleaning and renewal, fall is also a good time to take care of maintenance issues that could impact your comfort during the winter. Here's a short checklist of furnace maintenance items you should take care of within the next few weeks to keep your appliance functioning well:

Clean Your Unit

Chances are pretty good that dirt, dust, and debris have gathered on, in, and around your furnace. Your furnace cannot function optimally when it's clogged with dust or being suffocated by leaves and other items, so it's important that you take a weekend to give the appliance a good scrub down.

Be sure to get in critical areas such as the pilot light (blow dust from the pilot using a straw), the burners, and the openings where air flows in and out of the machine. Don't forget to clean the parts of your machine that have been installed outside the home. Cut back any plants or grass that has grown close to the outdoor appliance, as this greenery can make it difficult to pull in and/or release air.

Additionally, since you have the machine already open for cleaning, this is a good time to lubricate the motor, bearings, and any other parts that need it. The lubricant will help reduce friction, which will make the machine run better and extend its lifespan.

Calibrate the Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the furnace's most important partners when it comes to keeping your home warm and your energy bills low. However, you may not realize that thermostats need to be calibrated on a regular basis as their accuracy can decline over time, resulting in the machine running longer than necessary or not turning on when it's supposed to.

You can check the accuracy of your thermostat yourself by taping a glass thermometer next to it for about 15 minutes and then comparing the temperatures on each device. If your thermostat reads higher or lower than the thermometer by more than one degree, it may need to be recalibrated.

Before calling a professional, though, clean the thermostat. Be sure to dust any contact points using a dollar bill or soft paper. Check the mercury vial inside the device to make sure it's level and adjust if necessary. If the thermostat readings are still off afterward, call an HVAC company like Edge Guys HVAC for assistance.

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Last summer the unthinkable happened. My air conditioner failed on a day when it was over a hundred degrees outside. I was devastated, frustrated, and most of all, sweaty. Fortunately, a kind repair technician came out and helped me to get the system fixed the same day. After things were working, I took the time to ask how to avoid air conditioning problems in the first place. The technician gave me some great tips, including avoiding blocking my air returns. I also learned how to replace my air filter, which made a huge difference. Check out this blog to learn about HVAC.