The Georgia summer is coming to an end, and winter is right around the corner. Fall is the best time to start preparing for colder weather and the heating bills that come with it. The most important thing you can do each fall is to schedule preventive maintenance for your furnace with a reputable HVAC contractor. The annual tune-up benefits you in a number of ways:
- Increases furnace efficiency.
- Ensures lower energy bills.
- Reduces your carbon footprint.
- Helps prevent common (but expensive) furnace problems.
- Helps ensure carbon monoxide safety.
Professional Maintenance TasksOver the course of a heating season, your furnace loses efficiency due to constant operation. Belts and electrical and gas connections loosen, dust builds up on interior components, and the thermostat can lose accuracy. During your tune-up, the technician will perform a comprehensive checklist of tasks to address these and other issues. These are some of the tasks the technician will include in your tune-up:
- Lubricate the moving parts to prevent friction.
- Inspect wires and terminals for corrosion and other damage, and tighten electrical connections.
- Clean and inspect gas lines, and tighten gas connections.
- Clean and inspect the heat exchanger.
- Measure the airflow for optimum comfort.
- Measure gas emissions to ensure they meet manufacturer specifications.
- Inspect the vent stack or chimney flue for obstructions and damage that can result in carbon monoxide leaking into the home.
- Clean and inspect the burner assembly, and check the pilot.
- Clean the condensate pan, and flush the drain to prevent clogs and water damage.
- Calibrate the thermostat.
- Inspect ductwork for loose seals and obstructions.
DIY Maintenance TasksAfter the tune-up, it’s up to you to keep your system operating at peak efficiency for the duration of the heating season. The most important task for maintaining efficiency is stocking up on air filters, inspecting your filter every month, and replacing it with a clean one when it’s caked with dust. A dirty filter restricts airflow, reduces efficiency, causes poor indoor air quality and allows dust to build up inside the system. In fact, a dirty filter is one of the most common causes of system failure. Other tasks can help you take a load off of your system to help prevent undue wear and lower your energy bills even more. Before cold weather sets in, take care of these essential energy-saving tasks:
- Seal air leaks around the doors and windows on exterior walls to keep warm air inside and cold air out.
- Insulate ductwork where it runs through unconditioned areas like crawl spaces and the attic.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades to help distribute warm air that gathers near the ceiling.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control the temperature in your home based on when you’re sleeping, at work and at home.