Maintenance Tips for Your Heating System
A functioning heating system is essential during the winter months. Many people tend to disregard essential maintenance until it starts to get cold, leaving them struggling to find maintenance specialists to help fix their heating quickly. Keeping up on heating system maintenance not only ensures the system is working correctly, but it can keep heating costs down.
Ideally, a homeowner will want to have the system checked annually. Routine maintenance and cleaning can help keep the heating system running efficiently, maintain the indoor air quality, and help avoid maintenance emergencies. There are some essential tips on maintenance to ensure the system runs smoothly every winter season.
Tips for Heating System Maintenance
Routine maintenance can help avoid scheduling significant repairs or replacements that can cost thousands. Homeowners can keep the heating system running smoothly, and tips for caring for the heating system may prolong the need to call a technician for maintenance.
Check the Thermostat
The thermostat of the heating system in the home is the first place to look to see if things are working correctly. The thermostat should be turned up twice a year to ensure the furnace kicks on and continues to run. This helps ensure it is working order; however if it shuts off after only a few minutes, this indicates a problem. It could mean the thermostat is not adjusted properly and needs to be recalibrated, or the heat exchanger in a thermostat is overheating, and the safety switch is kicking on.
Filters need to be changed frequently. The air filter can collect dust and allergens that linger and filter back into the home. It can cause health issues for the house's occupants, and the system will not work as efficiently. This can cause uneven temperatures throughout the home and potentially lead to higher heating bills. Homeowners should replace the filter at a minimum every month or up to 90 days.
Maintain the Heat Pump
The heat pump should be maintenance by a professional at least once a year. Homeowners should perform the tune-up before it begins to get too cold in the winter to ensure any issues are caught. Homeowners should check the heat pump to ensure there is no ice build-up in, especially cold environments, to avoid extensive damage to the unit. The outdoor coils should be cleared regularly of dirt and debris and ensure the area around the heat pump is clear to keep the pump running smoothly.
Clean the Vents
Homeowners should clean the vents inside and around to ensure debris is not blocking airflow. The internal vents need to be cleared of dust, dirt, and lint to keep the furnace running as it should and reduce fire hazards. If the vents are clogged, it prevents airflow from moving through the home and increases the furnace's stress. The additional stress can increase the heating bill. A professional should clean the vents annually to get to the hard-to-reach places in intricate ductwork throughout a home.
Reduce the Usage
An overworked furnace tends to need repairs more often than one that is not used as often. Homeowners can ensure their home is energy efficient by checking windows and doors for leaks. Leaks can cause cool air to enter the house, forcing the furnace to work harder to heat the home. Holding a candle near the door frames or windows is a way to check to see if the air is getting in. If a leak is found, seal the leaks with a foam strip to help improve the heating system's efficiency.
Every homeowner can take the necessary steps to extend the life of their furnace, but a professional technician should perform checkups at least once a year for maximum efficiency. A professional can conduct an energy audit in the home to address any issues that need to be addressed to reduce the impacts of the furnace.
When to Call a Technician for Maintenance
Without regular maintenance, there can be larger, more expensive issues further down the road that could put homeowners' heating systems out of commission when they need them the most. The first sign homeowners should look for is the rise of a utility bill. This is a clear indication that something is not functioning properly. There are some more pressing signs when you should call a technician as soon as possible:
If there are strange odors or it smells like plastic is burning
The temperature varies from room to room and is inconsistent
Abnormal sounds like squeaking, grinding or rattling
The heater is short cycling and turning on and off for short bursts of time
If all home maintenance tips fail and the utility bill remains high
Top Choices for Heating System Upgrades
Goodman – Goodman furnaces are one of the top brands and offer Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency AFUE ratings of 80% - 90% that help keep peoples home warm with lower heating energy costs. The Goodman brand is a more affordable option for those on a stricter budget, and installation depending on the size needed can vary from $2,000 to $4,000 in installation costs.
Amana – Amana is a little more expensive than the Goodman brand, but the quality is of the highest and is known for its reliability. Amana furnaces rarely have issues, and the company will stand by their products if the homeowner takes the necessary steps to perform the routine maintenance needed. The general costs of installing Amana range from $2,145 to $3,300.
Daikin – The Daikin furnace brand has been in business since the 1930s. It offers the most standard heating and cooling products and is best known for its high customer service standards. Daikin provides repairs to homeowners within the first year of installation. The typical installation price ranges from $3,200 to $6,150 for installation costs.Bryant – Bryant furnaces are a great option that provides homeowners with top-rated energy efficiency at a lower cost. The furnaces are Energy Star certified and typically cost between $2,485 to $4,368 for installation costs.