Three Steps to Keep Your Furnace Healthy

There are two big-ticket home repairs that I know I will need to face someday, but for now, I dread them. One is replacing the roof, and the other is buying and installing a new furnace. While there isn’t a lot that you can do to prevent needing a new roof one day, there are several things that you can do to ensure your furnace stays healthy and has a long life.

Just like an exercise plan is important to maintaining your health, a strong furnace maintenance plan is important to keeping up the health of your furnace. An effective maintenance plan includes the following three steps, which should be part of your annual household routine.

Change the Air Filters

Image via Flickr by One Way Stock

There are two very simple steps to follow to make sure you furnace stays in the best possible shape. The first is changing the air filters regularly. You should do this at least every three months, and it couldn’t be simpler to do.

If you don’t know where to find the air filters on your system, just Google the furnace model for instructions. I’ll admit I had that problem. A few short YouTube videos later, and I was all set. This site also provides very straightforward instructions on how to change your air filter.

Clean the Furnace

The second easy step is cleaning your furnace. As with all things in your home, your furnace traps dirt and dust and needs a good, general cleaning every so often. When you change the air filter, vacuum the area around the blower. Don’t know where the blower is? Again, this is where YouTube comes in handy.

In addition, check for any obvious oil drips or other signs that the furnace might not be working properly. You can learn more about general DIY maintenance and common furnace problems here.

Schedule an Annual Inspection

As a simple rule of thumb, a system that heats your home needs annual maintenance. Make a point of having this maintenance done before the heating season starts. Schedule a visit from an HVAC technician each year. The technician will do a thorough check of your furnace and ensure that it is in top shape for the colder season ahead.

As part of a furnace tuneup, an HVAC technician will check fluid levels, any electric components, and fuel hookups. A technician will also test your thermostat for accuracy and inspect your HVAC system’s ductwork and vents. All of these checklist items can save you a lot of money if the technician finds and solves problems before they escalate. Follow this link for a detailed explanation of what to expect during annual HVAC maintenance.

While they might take some planning, all of these steps are important to the health of your furnace. Completing them could end up saving you big money. After all, according to Home Advisor, a new furnace could cost you anywhere between $2,500 and almost $6,000. In this case, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure.