Your furnace will be one of the most-used appliances in your home over the next several months, so now is the time to check it out and make sure it’s up for the task. While professional maintenance is by far the best way to ensure proper preparation, there are a few things you should look for or check in your furnace this fall so you are truly prepared for the forthcoming cold temperatures. And the best part: most of these checks are super easy to perform and make a huge difference with heater reliability and efficiency.
1. Your Air Filter
When it comes to heating and air conditioning maintenance, most people know that they need to change their air filter somewhat regularly. However, few people change their air filter often enough, and even fewer know what can happen when you fail to change your filter when it needs it. You might be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of heating problems can be traced back to a dirty air filter to at least some degree.
Depending on the size and style of your air filter, you should change it around every two to six months, with thicker and pleated air filters lasting longer than thinner, flat-style ones. It also helps to have a few spare filters sitting around so you can quickly change your filter when necessary.
2. Your Thermostat Battery
Many thermostats depend on a battery for power, either as an emergency or as a primary source. While some thermostats might give you a warning when your battery is low, many do not. The only way you might know that your battery has died is when your furnace shuts off and the screen on your thermostat either freezes up or goes completely blank.
While most modern smart thermostats draw power from a hardwired connection to your electrical system, many do still have a backup battery and the majority of thermostats in older homes rely exclusively on this battery power. If you want to avoid an uncomfortable disruption, change your battery at the start of the season before it runs out.
3. Your Thermostat Settings
One of the most important and influential things you need to check at the outset of a heating season is the settings on your thermostat. Setting your thermostat too high will waste energy and make your home feel uncomfortably stuffy while also adding wear and tear to your heating system due to frequent cycles. Setting your temperature too low will lead to a home that feels uncomfortable and more potential damage to your HVAC system as well. Likewise, setting the wrong temperature for different floors can lead to wasted energy and a huge difference in feel between upstairs and downstairs rooms.
Set your downstairs thermostat to your ideal temperature and then set your upstairs thermostat two degrees below that. The rising warm air from your furnace will warm the upstairs space while your downstairs rooms will feel comfortable with a perfect ambient temperature.
4. Your Ceiling Fans
While they may not be part of your furnace, your ceiling fans will have a direct impact on how your furnace operates. By flipping the direction your ceiling fans turn, you can force the warm air that typically gets stuck up at ceiling level back down to the rest of the room below for a more even and longer-lasting warmth. Pushing this warm air downward also raises the temperature at the thermostat level, meaning more time between cycles and fewer cycles overall to keep your home comfortable. Simply flip the switch on the side of your fan’s motor housing and the blades will begin spinning the other way (but make sure you dust the blades thoroughly before running them again).
5. Your Register Grates & Covers
Finally, one of the biggest contributors to poor air quality is dust that has accumulated over register grates and vent covers across months and months of use. Use a static or dust-attracting cloth to carefully wipe your grates down and you should notice a significant improvement in the amount of dust that settles on your furniture as well as floats in the air. While a basic wipe-down is generally helpful, those who really want to give their home a boost can use a screwdriver to remove the cover completely and wipe it down from the inside out.Schedule your furnace maintenance service today! Call A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical at (503) 694-3396 for an appointment.