Some say prevention is the best medicine. While that reigns true for humans, it also counts for your heating and HVAC system and the ventilation it creates in your home.

Heater maintenance is the best way to prevent your furnace from acting up at the times you need it the most. Taking time to prepare it in the fall for the coldest months of the year is the best way to ensure your home stays warm throughout the frigid winter.

Not only this, but your heater has the potential to be the largest energy expense in your home. Extra preventative measures can also ensure its efficiency, meaning a lower energy bill during the winter months.

Whether you just need some heater maintenance tips or are a complete novice to prevention, read on to learn 5 of the best ways to care for your furnace.

1. Clean or Replace the Filter

The filter in your furnace is crucial for processing the delivery of warm air throughout the entire home. By taking the time to replace it at the beginning of the heating season, you ensure that any visible dust and dirt isn’t going to make its way into places it doesn’t belong.

You may have a single furnace for your entire home, or you may have one at the furnace and another in the ceiling. Wherever they are, they should be inspected monthly and changed just as often. At a minimum, your filters need to be replaced or cleaned quarterly.

Filter Levels

Different price points are going to offer different aspects of protection to your heater and overall air quality. Inexpensive ones will provide basic protection, while more expensive ones can offer improved air quality, which can help those with asthma and allergies.

2. Ensure All Vents Are Open

Whether they’re closed or obstructed, you’re creating a strain on the overall structure of your home’s heating system. In order for it to work properly, the air in your home must circulate freely.

Taking a moment to ensure that all the vents in your home are open for circulation to flow through and that there is no furniture, boxes, or other items obstructing airflow can ensure the longevity of your unit.

Likewise, if you don’t or never have taken this precaution, it can lead to a shorter lifespan for your unit.

3. Keep Vents and Ductwork Clean

When you keep the vents and ductwork in your home clean, you’re allowing the best possible air quality to flow freely throughout your home. You’re also ensuring that your entire heater runs safely and smoothly.

By not having your air vents or ductwork cleaned, you make it easier for mold, mildew, dust, and other debris to live and multiply inside your home’s ductwork. This can make those with asthma and other allergies vulnerable to reactions.

Often, if your air vents or ductwork need to be cleaned, you or others in your home may begin experiencing flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose

Often, these symptoms can appear in people that don’t even have asthma or other allergies, which may point to a bigger problem inside of your air vents.

Luckily, the problem is simple to identify if it’s bad enough. A quick walk around to inspect your air vents for large, visible deposits of dust or mold can be enough to let you know that a change needs to happen. If you don’t notice anything lingering around your vents and no one in your home has sudden or unexplained symptoms, then having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary.

4. Safety First

The biggest thing to remember if and when you decide to take on heater maintenance for yourself is to always ensure the safety of those around you, as well as yourself, by turning off the heater or furnace. The only time you don’t have to do this is when changing your air filter.

If you’re hesitant or skeptical of your skill level, you can always consider calling a professional.

Even if you’re not looking inside your furnace, there are still precautions you can take — like removing all flammable objects from around the outside. Things like storage containers filled with clothes, paint, aerosols, or even containers of gasoline should never be placed around the outside of your furnace.

Other flammable household objects should stay out of your furnace’s general vicinity as well.

5. Schedule Regular Maintenance

Scheduling regular seasonal maintenance for your home’s heater is essential to its wellbeing. While your DIY approach is great for small hiccups and overall care, only a professional is going to know the ins and outs of your unit and exactly what it needs.

At Unique Air Heating & Cooling, we offer an entire heating system tune-up. During your appointment, we’ll:

  • Check for cracks in the heat exchanger
  • Check your freon levels, gas valve pressure, and your burners (we’ll also clean them)
  • Oil your motor fan
  • Inspect and tighten connections
  • Replace all air filters
  • Verify all of your safety switches while ensuring they function properly

Ideally, this tuneup is scheduled and completed in the fall, but we can come out and inspect your unit at any time.

Remember These Tips for Heater Maintenance

By remembering (and enacting) these tips for heater maintenance, you ensure that your heater is set up to take care of you and your home all winter long.

If you’re overdue for heater maintenance, you can schedule your appointment now by contacting us at Unique Air Heating & Cooling. We’ll take the best care in ensuring that your heater is set up for success throughout the rest of these cold months.