Keeping your home’s heating system at peak efficiency is one of the best ways to help reduce your monthly utility bill and avoid emergency repairs. Luckily, there are many simple ways to keep your heater from going awry without breaking the bank. We are coming out of the coldest months of the year, which means that most of us won’t be thinking about our home’s heating system for a while.
But now is the perfect time to start planning. Whether you have an old furnace or something more modern, maintenance is key to keeping it working well and not costing you a fortune every month. Keeping your heating system safe and cost-effective requires diligence, but it is relatively easy.
Here are five great ways to help you save money with heating system maintenance over the long run:
1. Change your air filter once a month
Air filters are one of the simplest and cheapest ways to improve the efficiency of your heating system. Dirty filters will reduce your system’s airflow, making the blower work harder and increasing your monthly bill. A clogged filter will also prevent the system from exhausting indoor air, which can result in indoor pollutants trapped inside.
If you’ve been using your furnace for a while, it’s time to change the air filter every 3-6 months. It’s essential to check your filter often and replace it at least once every month during the winter. Take the old filter outside, remove it from its frame, and replace it with a new one.
If you have central air, it’s equipped with a built-in filtration system that requires less frequent maintenance. Consult the product manual for instructions on cleaning and replacing the filters.
2. Check for drafts and seal any leaks
While looking for ways to improve airflow, it’s essential to check your home’s windows and doors for drafts and holes, and cracks in the walls. If leaks or gaps exist between your home and the outdoors, your furnace will have to work harder to warm the air inside.
Such leaks also prevent your furnace from properly exhausting indoor air, leading to indoor pollutants build-ups — particularly during the winter, when indoor air quality is at its worst. Air leaks have a particularly dramatic impact on the fuel efficiency of certain furnaces, including conventional forced-air and hydronic systems.
The good news is that you can seal most leaks yourself with the help of some basic materials.
3. Change your furnace filter once a year
Your furnace’s filter is another important line of defense against indoor pollutants. During the winter, your furnace is likely running for several hours every day, which means it takes in a lot of dirt and debris. You want to make sure your filter is capable of trapping as much of this dirt and grime as possible.
Otherwise, your system will run longer and use more energy, which will end up costing you more money in the long run. If your furnace filter is filthy, you can wash it with plain water and let it air dry.
Alternatively, you can replace the filter with a new one — ensure it’s the right size for your system. While at it, you might check your filter’s other components, such as the fan belt and motor, for signs of wear and tear.
4. Rotate your furnace’s indoor coils
Outdoor furnaces have vents and rooftop fans to facilitate heat transfer, and indoor furnaces have vents that pull warm air up from the basement. However, indoor furnaces also have a core component that outdoor furnaces do not: coils.
Climates and seasons affect how long your furnace will last, but regular maintenance and upkeep can also impact the life of your furnace. When your furnace was installed, the installer likely recommended how often you should rotate the coils. If you don’t have a record of this recommendation or just purchased a new furnace, you can contact the manufacturer for directions on how often to rotate your coils.
The number of times you should turn your furnace’s coils varies by type, but most manufacturers recommend rotating them once a year. Furnace coils are designed to trap dirt and grime, which is great in the winter when you need your furnace to be as efficient as possible.
However, coils also trap dirt and grime throughout the rest of the year, which can reduce your furnace’s efficiency. Rotating your furnace’s coils is a simple way to stay on top of cleaning your system.
5. Look for discolored or bent fins — and make repairs
The final component of your furnace that you should check for signs of wear and tear is its fins. Fins are the thin, slotted metal pieces that cover the ends of your furnace’s indoor blower. Fins help your blower draw in warm air from the home’s surrounding area, pushing that air through your home’s ductwork.
And while fins are meant to bend a little over time, they shouldn’t become permanently bent, as this may cause your system to overheat. Fins that are discolored or rusted also aren’t doing their job as well as they could be, so it’s important to check them regularly for signs of wear and tear.
If you notice bent fins or fins that appear rusted or discolored, you should schedule an appointment with a furnace repair professional as soon as possible. Bent fins can be repaired, and rust can be removed with a little elbow grease. However, badly discolored fins require replacement.
Despite being less obvious than other household appliances, it’s important to remember that your heating system is running all year round — and it will eventually break down if you don’t take proper care of it. Following these seven great tips for maintaining your furnace can help avoid costly repairs and keep your monthly utility bill as low as possible.
Schedule Home Heater Service and Maintenance
Winter is here and when you need your heater serviced, you need a local company that has the know-how and experience to get the job done right. We are proudly serving the Acton, Arlington, Concord, Sudbury, and surrounding areas and we have all the latest tools, technology and equipment to provide exemplary heating service.
We are experts on all things heating and cooling and offer emergency services, routine maintenance, and repairs to keep your system running smoothly. We have 24-hour service available when you need it most.