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Furnace Maintenance Tips to Keep You Warm this Winter
A brisk chill is in the air and winter is right around the corner. As we’re all too familiar with in the Midwest, it’s crucial to have a reliable furnace this time of year. Ensure your HVAC system is running efficiently, safe, and ready for the harsh weather ahead with proper furnace maintenance.
Thermostat settings should keep you comfortable when you’re home and save energy when you’re away. To feasibly do this, consider investing in a programmable thermostat that’s professionally installed. These types of thermostats can automatically lower the temperature when people aren’t home, which will save you time and money in the long run. In fact, lowering the thermostat by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours could save as much as 15% a year on heating expenses. Before it gets too cold out, make sure to give the system a full test by checking that it turns on, runs, and turns off properly.
Furnace parts should run smoothly to reduce your energy use and will do so when kept lubricated. Listen out for any odd noises (rattling, rocking, vibrating, etc.) your furnace makes. For instance, a high-pitched squealing can indicate when ball bearings need lubrication. Other noises could be due to something as simple as a loose cover panel or be part of a much larger internal problem where a furnace expert will need to be contacted to schedule a tune-up.
To avoid an improperly operating furnace, check for any loose electrical connections. Loosened connections will make your system work in overdrive until the problem is fixed, which can create unsafe conditions and shorten your furnace’s lifespan. If you have an older model unit, make sure there aren’t any faulty gas or oil connections. These can cause health problems for your family and fire hazards inside your home. For instance, a cracked heat exchanger could release carbon monoxide and other dangerous airborne toxins.
Dirty furnace filters create dusty, dry air that leads to poor indoor air quality and decreased heating efficiency. On the other hand, regularly switching out the filter will do your house wonders by creating clean air and comfortable humidity levels. You should change 1-2 inch filters once a month, 4 inch filters every two months, and 5 inch filters every three. However, keep in mind that other factors (pets, smoking, open windows, etc.) can affect these changing schedules. Drooping houseplants, dry throats/noses/skin, static electricity, and cracking wood furniture are all signs that the filter is long overdue for replacement. When in doubt, pull out your filter and give it a look.
Getting a new unit, scheduling a tune-up, or just need some expert advice? Contact Cardinal Heating & Cooling today for all your furnace needs!
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