Skipping out on furnace maintenance may save you money, but it is a false economy since it can result in a big breakdown later. The following four tips are a better way to save on maintenance costs without compromising the function of your heating system.
1. Update Your Air Filter
You are probably aware that the air filter in the furnace needs to be changed at regular intervals, but there are ways to save on this task. In some cases, you may be able to upgrade to a reusable filter. These filters are designed to be washed and reused multiple times. Check with your furnace technician before making the switch, though, as reusable filters are not compatible with all furnaces. If you do pursue this option, it can be well worth it to invest in two filters. This way you don't have to wait for the cleaned filter to dry before replacing it and turning the furnace back on.
2. Maintain or Upgrade Your Thermostat
The thermostat is an important component of your heating system. Older thermostats may lose accuracy over time, which can cost you more in energy as well as put undue stress on the furnace. Your furnace tech can usually recalibrate them and fix the issue, but you may want to upgrade to a new programmable thermostat. These thermostats help you program your comfort settings in a manner that increases furnace efficiency, which saves you money on energy costs and puts less mechanical stress on the furnace.
3. Manage the Air Flow
Your ducts can be putting stress on your furnace, too, which can lead to the need for more maintenance and repair calls. Make sure all the vents and air returns throughout the house are fully unobstructed and open. If furniture or other items block a duct, then move the items so the air can flow. When the furnace is running, hold your hand over each vent. If you don't feel air flow, you may have a blocked or disconnected duct. Having it cleaned or repaired is a must.
4. Perform Monthly Inspections
An annual furnace tuneup and inspection by a professional is well worth the small expense, but you can also perform monthly inspections on your own. Doing so enables you to catch some problems early, before they become too expensive. Begin by checking the pilot light -- if it is burning with a steady blue flame, then it is fine. If it flickers or burns another color, schedule maintenance now. Also, listen for any odd sounds when the furnace pops on or is running. Loud rattles, squeals, and whining noises can all indicate blower motor or fan issues.
Contact a heating system maintenance service for more help.