No matter what kind of furnace you may have to heat your home, keeping it properly maintained is essential. Otherwise, the furnace will not operate as efficiently or as safely.
That can lead to higher energy bills during colder months of the year, or mean that your home is not sufficiently warm to provide the comfort you need.
Most importantly, a furnace that is in need of repair can be a health hazard. Each year there are fires in homes that are caused by faulty furnaces, for example, and people are also exposed to harmful and potentially lethal carbon dioxide exposure from leaky furnaces.
The good news is that there are steps every homeowner can take to help eliminate such risks, while also ensuring that their furnace operates as intended, for the optimum performance and longevity of the unit.
Furnace Repairs and Supply Chain Issues
Another critical consideration right now is that repairs of furnaces may be delayed due to the global supply chain crisis. The parts needed to properly repair a furnace may be in short supply, causing the unwanted postponement of repairs until the supply chain issues are resolved.
It is highly recommended that furnaces be checked by a qualified furnace repair and maintenance professional at least once every year, preferably right before the cold season arrives, so that the dependability and safety of the furnace can be guaranteed.
But if parts aren’t available, it could mean having to wait while cold weather persists without a functioning furnace.
To avoid such problems it is especially critical to make arrangements as soon as possible for the furnace to be inspected.
That way, if repairs are necessary, there will be additional time for any parts to arrive and for the repairs to be successfully completed before you need to use your furnace.
Carbon Monoxide Hazards
When heating units, especially furnaces, operate they naturally produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of the heating process. That applies to all furnaces, no matter what kind of fuel they burn.
But carbon monoxide is an odorless chemical that can enter your home without you realizing it. One of the main reasons that this happens is that furnaces can develop cracks as they age, and although these cracks may be practically invisible, they nevertheless let these gases escape, undetected.
Once that occurs, the potentially lethal gas can enter the confined living spaces of the home. If it is inhaled by residents or even pets, they can experience carbon monoxide poisoning.
Oftentimes this happens without their knowledge, even while they are asleep. That risk is one of the most compelling reasons why furnaces must be professionally checked for leaks before you use them each winter.
Neglecting to check and repair furnaces can also cause them to heat less effectively. Sometimes the cause is something as simple as leaking heating ducts that will need to be patched so that the heat you pay for doesn’t leak out before reaching the rooms of your home.
There may be electronic components such as the thermostat that are in disrepair and need to be fixed or replace so that the unit cycles on and off at correct intervals.
The filtration system of the furnace is another area to be serviced on a regular schedule. Otherwise, a blocked air filter can prevent the warm air produced by your furnace from flowing through the ductwork of the home into each room.
Another problem that can arise due to dirty furnace system filters that need to be replaced is that these filters help to prevent the spread of contaminants such as dust and allergens from circulating through the system and into your living space.
Breathing these contaminants can aggravate allergies or cause respiratory problems for residents, especially children and the elderly who are most vulnerable.
Check and Change Your Air Filters
The majority of actual repairs should be performed by a certified and qualified professional, but there are some simple kinds of repair and maintenance procedures that homeowners themselves can do.
That can save them time and money while it also helps to ensure that their furnace lasts longer between repairs.
First of all, monitor the flow of air coming from the furnace through the ductwork. If it seems to be slow or not strong enough, check the air filter to see if it is too dirty.
A visual inspection is sufficient because if you can’t see space or light when you look through the filter, that means air can’t get through, either.
You can locate the filter and find out what particular type or model of filter the furnace requires by reading your owner’s manual. It will also describe how to replace the filter.
There are also ways to clean a filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and many filters can be serviced in the way by washing them or using a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dust that clogs them.
Furnace filters are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any home improvement store and should be changed whenever they are dirty or at least 2-3 times per year.
But keep in mind that supply chain shortages may also mean that stores in your community won’t have an adequate supply of filters, especially during the time of year when people are concerned about maintaining those units.
As always, it’s a good idea to plan in advance and keep some filters on hand at home so that you have them whenever you need them.
When to Call a Furnace Repair Professional
Do not hesitate to enlist the services of a professional any time you are unsure about what to do in terms of inspecting, maintaining, and repairing or replacing a furnace.
Many homeowners have an ongoing relationship with a local furnace specialist who will handle all of these issues for them, on a regular timetable.
They can make sure that your furnace is in a good, safe condition and they can alert you of needed repairs before a small repair turns into a serious, more expensive problem.
Be sure to check their references and compare prices, then hire a furnace expert to give you worry-free service and answer any questions you may have about your furnace.