Winter Warmth: A Guide to Furnace Repair and Maintenance

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Winter’s icy chill can quickly take a toll on your health if you do not put certain proactive measures in place to cushion your home from the season. The good news is that there are numerous ways to protect your home from winter weather. One such method is by undertaking scheduled furnace repair and maintenance. 

In this article, we look at the best ways to repair and maintain your furnace ahead of the winter season.

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1. Clean Your Furnace Regularly

Regular furnace cleaning is undoubtedly one of the most effective tips for furnace repair and maintenance for the winter. 

Not only does cleaning your furniture regularly allow it to produce heat more efficiently during winter. It also lets you uncover issues that might cause system breakdowns early enough. Besides, a clean furnace helps lower energy and heating costs. 

The best way to clean your furnace is to begin with the filter system and work through the blower and motor. If you’re in doubt about the exact parts to clean, you can always enlist the services of a professional HVAC repair and maintenance technician. 

Remember that furnace cleaning shouldn’t be undertaken only around the onset of winter. Instead, it’s a routine maintenance procedure that should occur every few weeks.

2. Inspect and Clean the Vents

Modern furnace systems feature different types of vents. These include natural vents, combustion vents, flue pipes, exhaust pipes, etc. These components serve one fundamental function – aiding ventilation.

A proper venting system ensures adequate airflow to and from the furnace, facilitating complete combustion. Reduced airflow could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Therefore, inspecting vents regularly for any debris and blockages is imperative, then cleaning them if required. Again, this should be a routine exercise and not only something you do around wintertime.

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3. Lubricate the Motor

A furnace motor serves two critical purposes. 

First, it expels toxic gasses like carbon monoxide from your house through the vents or chimney. It also prevents the burners from getting clogged with soot, which might impede their operation. 

The good news is that most furnace motors come pre-lubricated. But for those with covered oil ports, occasional lubrication is necessary. HVAC technicians recommend lubricating your furnace motor at least once annually. That means you may only have to oil the components whenever winter rolls in. 

Be sure to use nondetergent motor oil. Also, avoid lubricating the motor as that may cause bearing failure.

4. Change the Air Filters

Air filters are some of the most useful parts of a furnace’s anatomy. These appliances improve air quality in your home by absorbing environmental pollutants, airborne pathogens, and allergens. They also prevent debris from clogging the furnace’s internal components, increasing energy consumption. 

As one of the most functional parts of a furnace, air filters need replacing occasionally. And the best time to replace them is right before winter. 

Note that while air filters are considerably easy to replace, you’re probably better off hiring a professional HVAC technician. Their experience will come in handy in helping you pick an air filter compatible with your furnace.

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5. Check the Control Valve

A furnace’s control valve helps regulate fuel flow (oil or gas) to the system. An optimally-functioning valve is central to the overall performance of a furnace system. 

Most furnaces come with a thermostatic valve. These valves regulate fuel flow depending on the ambient temperature. 

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But regardless of the valve type your furnace uses, inspecting them for safety reasons is important. The valves should allow only the amount of fuel required to operate the furnace. 

An underfueled furnace will not function optimally. Similarly, excess fuel passing through the valves to the furnace can pose a major safety hazard.

6. Monitor the Thermostat

It’s almost impossible to discuss furnace repair and maintenance without making a mention of the thermostat. While valves help regulate the fuel quantity flowing to a furnace, a thermostat predetermines the temperature at which the system heats. 

The fact that you’re anticipating winter doesn’t mean your furnace will be working on overdrive throughout the season. You’ll still need the system to function at certain temperatures depending on the time of day and your heating needs. 

Therefore, start by cleaning your thermostat of dirt and debris, as these might impact calibration. Then, monitor the device to ensure its reading matches your desired heating temperature.  

7. Remember To Shut It Down After Winter

A common mistake many homeowners often make is forgetting to shut down their furnaces as winter slowly gives in to spring. Well, that’s a terrible oversight that can reflect adversely on your energy bills and home renovation costs. 

The conventional wisdom is to shut gas furnaces at the end of the winter. This allows the system to cool down for the next couple of months. It’s also an ideal time to clean your furnace and perform a thorough inspection to replace any broken or worn-out parts. 

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Final Word

Furnace repair should be a regular, not occasional, home renovation project. It’s particularly important to clean and maintain your furnace around the onset of winter. 

Remember that while you can easily check for malfunctions in your furnace system, most repairs and replacements are best left to professionals. Never attempt a DIY furnace repair unless you’re 100% confident in fixing the problem.

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