If at any point you are not comfortable, please call a licensed and trained professional.
Obvious Warning Signs
- Louder than normal furnace? Anything weird or unusual means something is wrong.
- Is there water surrounding the furnace? Even a little bit of water is an issue.
- Area surrounding furnace clear of debris? Ever store cleaning products and paint cans near a source of heat like your furnace
Change the Furnace Filter
You should check your furnace filter monthly during the heating season and change it when it is dirty. Keeping the air filter clean will allow the system to run at peak airflow. If your furnace also has air conditioning, this is especially important during the months when you use your central air conditioning.
Monthly filter replacement is best for the 1” disposable filters. Most professional HVAC contractors, and Pipe Doctor included, suggest purchasing standard non-pleated filters and change them monthly. This heavy duty disposal filter on Amazon is a perfect example. A dirty filter will restrict airflow, causing the system to work harder and result in higher heating and cooling costs. Additionally, lack of airflow through the furnace will cause it to overheat and shutdown.
Check the Thermostat
Many modern thermostats are of a digital type and most require batteries to operate. These batteries are generally behind the front cover and should be changed annually – even if the battery low warning is not displayed. Pipe Doctor has been to countless service calls for “No Heat” when the only issue was weak or dead thermostat batteries.
Consider a programmable thermostat and save up to 25% on your heating expenses. Properly using a schedule to maintain different temperatures during the day (when most people are at work) and during the evening can really cut down your natural gas bill. Your local HVAC service contractor can help you select the best model for your system. Also, with many of us using smart phones and connected devices, maybe a Wifi enabled thermostat is right for you. Some models start at under $100.
Clean the Blower
When checking the filter (sometimes located in the blower compartment of the furnace), the blower assembly should be free of dirt and debris. You can use vacuum with a soft brush to clean the blower wheel and accessible parts of the motor.
Schedule an Inspection
An annual heating inspection, tuneup, combustion and draft analysis is a great way to keep your home gas furnace heating system running safely. Some HVAC contractors prefer to have tuneups scheduled at the end of the season while others schedule during the start of the heating season. A properly tuned system should ward off future problems before the occur which typically results in an expensive repair – or replacement.
Carbon Monoxide Awareness
Every floor of your home must have a carbon monoxide detector installed. Most require batteries and they should be changed annually. Additionally all CO detectors have a life span of 3 years. If your CO detector(s) are older than 3 years you should order a newer models. Amazon has a 2 pack available here for $21.99. For homeowners looking for something with more bells and whistles the Nest Protect device is a great lifesaver with notifications to your smartphone if it detects anything.