The words "annual maintenance" may cause you a little worry; after all, if there are any ways to escape annual maintenance costs, you'll probably take them. But your furnace is a complex and expensive piece of machinery, and if for any reason it stops working during the winter, you'll be looking at expensive repair bills -- and being cold while you do it. Yearly maintenance and repair is a good way to keep costs low and your furnace running efficiently, but there's a positive spin to it. Maintenance is preventative, so by spending a little money to give your furnace an annual checkup, you're saving money down the road by preventing disastrous failures.
Replace Furnace Filter
Filters should always be replaced at least once a year, because they can get dirty very quickly. Not only does this decrease your furnace's efficiency and make it more expensive to heat your home, but it makes it more difficult to take air in. A lack of proper air flow can damage your furnace if it's bad enough. At the very least, a filter change should be high on your list of things to do before you turn on your furnace for the first time during the year.
To keep your furnace running well, you should replace your furnace filter every one to three months during the time it's running constantly.
Clean Combustion Chamber
The combustion chamber is where your furnace generates all its heat, and it can get pretty dirty in there. Soot can build up over time, and a buildup of soot can start to corrode the walls of the chamber. A wire brush can clean out the bulk of the soot, and a vacuum can clean up the rest.
Inspect Condensate Drain
As moisture is taken out of the air, it drips down into the condensate drain where it then is directed out of your house. If the drain is clogged or dirty, this can cause a backup of water, which can cause multiple problems. A water buildup can affect the humidity level of your house, but it can also cause water damage, which you may not notice right away if you don't check on your furnace often. A humid environment can also promote mold growth, which will then need to be remediated.
Inspect All Connections
Take a look inside your furnace to make sure that all of its parts are undamaged and all connections are tight. Loose and cracked connections are a safety hazard, and will need to be fixed immediately. Check your burner, heat exchanger, pilot light, thermocouple and limit switch. Once you've checked to make sure everything is OK, give your furnace a test run.
Call For An Inspection
An annual inspection from a professional is a low-cost and thorough option, and doesn't take very long to do. A repairman will typically inspect your furnace and ducts to make sure all the parts are working and that there are no leaks or damage. Even if you perform some of your own preventative maintenance, calling for an inspection from a company like Arendosh Heating & Cooling every few years is a good way to ensure you haven't missed anything important, or if you want to keep a record of your inspections.