With the days getting shorter and the weather turning colder there is the obvious desire to start turning up the heat indoors. But before you crank it up, you should stop for a moment to think about furnace care and maintenance. In the ideal world we would never have to give a second thought to keeping warm, but unfortunately, something as valuable and important as a furnace in a Canadian winter requires a certain amount of attention and upkeep. By scheduling regular maintenance and inspections, you can save yourself from spending chilly nights worried about the expense of a new furnace. It is always better to hire a professional to check your furnace out, but there are still some hot tips on furnace maintenance to keep you warm all winter long.
- Don’t wait : If you notice your furnace is behaving differently than normal this is an indication that some form of maintenance is required. This could be a strange sound or smell, or it shuts off unexpectedly, whatever the case is call a furnace technician as soon as possible. Maintenance by a professional in the early stage of an issue is better and safer than waiting for the worst to happen. Once something is wrong with your furnace it also can cost you in the long run with expensive repairs and time down.
- Turn it off: This may seem like a no-brainer, but before calling your local maintenance expert, you should shut off power at the source. You would never try car maintenance while the engine is running; this should be no different. It is also essential to know where the shut off for the furnace and fuel line are located in the event of a leak or fire in the future.
- Cleaning: Remove the cover and get busy with a shop vac to remove any built-up dust or debris. Clean or change the air filter as well, all air your family will breathe during the winter is going to pass through this filter. Be very careful not to touch or damage the pilot or surface igniter. They can be very delicate and easily broken, use a drinking straw to blow away any dust carefully.
- Check for leaks: Inspect the ducts and inside the furnace for any signs of leaks or corrosion. If you do find any leaks, metal tape can be a small fix, but make sure to call a furnace expert into make sure it does not turn into something bigger. For any signs of corrosion, it is again best to call in a professional.
- Clean the vents: As a trap for dust, hair, small toys and bits of food; the floor vents should not be overlooked. They should be vacuumed out and wiped down with soapy water as necessary.
Of course, every furnace is slightly different, so this is only a starting point. For more details, be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific information, and if ever you’re in doubt or simply need some guidance or help call in a professional for a second opinion.