November 25, 2013
Winter is here and it’s here to stay for a few months. The best way to stay warm is to stay indoors, so it’s time to ensure your heating system stays functioning. Many heating systems in PA are furnaces, and in order to keep them up and running, they require yearly maintenance. If your furnace shuts off for seemingly no reason at all, or is malfunctioning/inefficient, it may be a 10-second fix; however, it may also be something serious. Here are some quick furnace maintenance tips to keep your furnace up and running throughout the entire winter.
- Check Your Filter – One common problem among furnaces is when a filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. Your filter keeps your furnace running efficiently and healthily, but if you don’t clean it after extensive periods of time, it can cause some minor damages that will require repair. You should clean your filter about every 1-2 months, but preferably every month. All you need to do is take it out, vacuum it, and put it back in. If it is still not running properly, you may need to buy a new filter.
- Thermostat – Thermostats are what makes your furnace turn on and off. If yours is broken, it doesn’t know when it’s cold or hot. As you may guess, this causes complications. If your furnace won’t turn on, or if it just turns on and off as it pleases, then you may need a heating professional to solve the problem. A good check to see if the thermostat is functioning is to bump it up or down a few degrees and see if it kicks on. If everything works fine when it’s actually running, your thermostat may be malfunctioning.
- Pilot Light’s Out – Pilot lights go out often. They may also not stay lit. Sometimes this is an easy fix, but not always. Check your pilot light by finding the gas valve and turn it off, wait a few minutes, then turn it to the pilot setting and try to light it with a match or lighter. If it catches, turn the valve to the on position. If it doesn’t stay lit and you think you did it correctly, call a professional to take a look at it. Pilot lights are another common, inexpensive, and fast repair.
- Gas Leak – Gas can be dangerous. If you see a gas leak, smell gas, or detect a leak coming from your furnace, then open the doors and windows, go outside, and call a professional. We’ll come out on the same day and take a look to see what’s causing the leak.
- Clean Your Furnace – Furnaces must be cleaned regularly, and this can only be done by professionals.
- Inspect Wiring – If your furnace is not turning on, don’t jump straight to technical causes…it could just be the wiring. Check the wiring to the control panel and any other connections to ensure they are tight. It may just be a blown fuse in your electrical panel.
- What’s That Smell? – If you ever find yourself asking this around your furnace, turn it off and call a professional. Though it may not be serious, it could be a gas or oil leak.
- What’s That Sound? – Yet another question many homeowners find themselves asking. Furnaces are not loud unless something is wrong. A belt or loose bearing could be the problem. Oftentimes the tension belt is to blame. In order to figure it out and get it fixed before it becomes a more serious (and expensive) problem, contact us.
If you follow these tips, you may be able to solve some minor furnace maintenance issues; however, if you are unable to solve the issue on your own, don’t step beyond your capabilities. Outside of the listed fixes, most furnace maintenance should be performed by a professional heating service technician.