Many homeowners do not consider the condition of their furnaces until the moment the weather begins to cool down. A furnace is a remarkably simple machine that requires very little upkeep despite all of the work it is capable of performing. A few simple steps can ensure that your furnace is ready to warm up your toes at the first sign of a winter chill.
Air flow is essential to the proper functioning of a furnace and the best way to keep the air flowing is to keep the area around the furnace free from obstructions. The easiest way to keep your furnace free from clutter is to avoid storing anything in its immediate space. Storage items collect dust that can clog the mechanisms. Combustible items should be kept no closer than 6 inches from the vent pipe to avoid accidental ignition and house fire.
The burner area of the furnace should be kept clean since debris can create a fire hazard as well as cause the furnace to work harder to heat the air. A furnace should be cleaned and inspected before the cold season by a professional in heating and air.
The motor of a furnace is a delicate device that requires lubrication and maintenance like any engine. Some newer model furnace engines are lubricated and factory sealed eliminating the need for annual lubrication. Furnaces without this feature will have specific places open for the lubricant to be applied. This information can be found in the furnace’s manual.
Ensuring a consistent supply of power to the furnace will keep it from throwing breakers or needing to be reset. The furnace should be checked periodically even in warm weather to verify the power is being directed properly. Many people make the decision to shut off their furnaces entirely during the warmer months to protect it from power surges and reduce unnecessary wear on the engine.
A few simple steps and some basic knowledge about the specific furnace model in your home can save you money and stress when the temperature drops. A furnace is a low maintenance piece of equipment, but a little TLC goes a long way. If taken care of properly, a furnace will keep your family warm for many winters to come.