Furnace Tune-Up Tips

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When summer temperatures are scalding, the last thing you might think about is your furnace. However, when summer inevitably turns into fall and temperatures summarily plummet, you might find that your long-forgotten furnace isn't ready quite ready to deliver the heat you need to keep your home cozy.  

Here are a few furnace tune-up tips to get your heating unit in shape so that it's ready when you need it: 

Dust it Off

Most furnaces are ensconced in a nook in a basement or garage. These spaces are often poorly ventilated and seldom cleaned. Over time, dust and other airborne detritus can collect in and around your furnace. These layers of gunk can clog and damage your furnace's valves and other sensitive internal components*.  

  • Compressed Air: blasting your furnace with a little compressed air is an easy way to quickly remove months, years, or decades worth of gunk and grime. Because airborne particles have a tendency of drifting back down, working from top to bottom is the most efficient way to complete the job. 

  • Dust-off: if you lack access to a compressed air unit, a few cans of a dust-off type can get the job done. 

 *After dusting off your furnace, you may need to reignite your pilot light.  

Safety and Performance Check

Whenever fire and gas are interacting, the potential for danger simply can not be avoided. Your furnace, in particular, can become very dangerous if not properly maintained. Every one or two years you should hire a licensed heating contractor to perform a safety check on your home's furnace. 

  • Carbon Monoxide Test: as your furnace ages, valves, fittings, and seals will weaken. These weaknesses can lead to small gas leaks. Not only can these gas leaks cause your energy bill to rise, but they can create a serious risk. The only way to truly detect a small carbon monoxide leak is to use sensitive equipment, which can be cost prohibitive to purchase yourself and difficult to use correctly. 

  • All heating and cooling units are rated based on how much energy they require to produce a specific output of heating or cooling power. This figure is expressed in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Your contractor can perform a test to see if your unit is performing as it should be. This check can also help your contractor pinpoint any potential issues your furnace might be having.

Giving your furnace a little TLC in the summer can be blessing when you actually need it this fall and winter. For more information, contact professionals like Erickson Plumbing & Heating