AC and Heating Tip from AC Express
4 Ways to Prolong Your Furnace’s Life
As the winter drags on we should all become increasingly grateful that our furnaces do their job consistently and satisfactorily. We go to sleep warm and cozy and wake up warm and cozy in no small part because our furnaces allow us to do so by going through cycle after cycle of pumping warm air throughout the house that would otherwise be subject to the chilling cold of the winter air outside. We have much to thank our furnaces for in this regard and thankfully furnaces don’t have short lifespans that would require us to worry about their impending failures all the time and their replacement.
But despite this, furnaces do have a finite lifespan and yours will have to be replaced someday. That’s not exactly what this tip of the day is about though. Today we’re going to look at some of the most effective and accessible ways of enhancing and extending your furnace’s lifespan. Furnaces may have finite lifespans but they don’t have expiration dates written in stone. The way you treat your furnace and the extent to which you maintain it has a grand effect on how long it will last you. So let’s look at some of the things you can do to the benefit of your furnace’s longevity.
Stay On Top of Filter Replacements
Let’s start with the easiest thing you can do to help your furnace last as long as possible. That is simply replacing your air filter on a regular basis. Despite seemingly like such a small thing, this is a big one. Replace your furnace filter every single time it is dirty and as soon as it is dirty. A dirty air filter can kill your furnace. Here is how: air attempts to flow to the furnace, but filter gunk impedes its path; this forces your furnace to work harder, which, naturally, results in a shorter life span. Think of how much worse off your car would be if you accelerated and braked drastically. Your furnace filters should be replaced every month. Only a good, pleated filter will be sufficient for your system.
This isn’t the only way a dirty air filter will harm your furnace though. In addition to making it work harder, a dirty air filter is going to be less good at its job, meaning more contaminants are going to get into the innards of the furnace. These contaminants can harm the furnace by wearing on the vulnerable inner parts of the blower, the heat exchanger, etc.
Check your furnace's air filter every month. When it's clogged with dust, replace it with a good-quality, pleated filter. Check the specifications of your furnace before upgrading your filter. The manufacturer will probably specify how often they recommended replacing the air filter as well. It may be every month or it may be every other month. Either way, the best time to replace it is as often as it gets dirty. Plan on changing the air filter monthly especially if you have pets or you deal with allergies. Luckily, air filters are inexpensive and extremely easy to replace. That’s what makes this method of increasing your furnace’s lifespan so simple. It's essential to balance airflow with air cleaning capabilities when choosing an air filter.
Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks
Another way to increase the lifespan of your furnace is to make sure you have it checked up on regularly by a professional. Sure, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to keep your furnace healthy and clean but these are sophisticated machines that rely on a lot of rather complicated features to perform successfully over a long period of time. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your furnace is have a professional look it over, clean it, and fix any small problems that may arise before they become big problems that will reduce the unit’s lifespan and cause the need for expensive repairs.
Most people avoid scheduling any kind of HVAC service unless they suspect that something is wrong with their system. While you should absolutely call for professional help if you notice an issue with your furnace, you should also schedule preventive maintenance at least once a year. Preventive maintenance has a multitude of advantages, from identifying and fixing potential problems before they start, to improving the efficiency of the system. Annual preventive maintenance is the single best thing you can do to ensure that your furnace lives as long as possible.
It may be hard at first to justify to yourself spending money on calling a professional over to look at your furnace when it seems to be working just fine but consider the three ways that doing so actually saves you money in the long run. Firstly, regular maintenance checks are going to keep your furnace energy efficient. Some of the things that will go on during one of these maintenance routines are going to benefit the efficiency of your furnace, meaning that a regularly maintained furnace is going to cost you less in utility bills every month.
You don't want any problems to arise when family and friends are visiting during the holidays. A professional will inspect for potential problems and make recommendations before costly repairs become necessary. A clean and maintained furnace will last more than a furnace that is never professionally serviced. At least once in a year, you should get your HVAC inspected for its condition, clean any dust collected inside it and confirm its safety. The professional will check each component, including the ductwork to ensure everything is operating properly.
Another task a heating technician will do is check if the heat exchanger is cracked or corroded. Damaged heat exchanger can decrease the life of a furnace significantly. Usually, it is not really a smart idea to replace the heat exchanger, because the total cost (cost of part + labor) may exceed the value of the heating system.
Don’t Go Overboard With Heating in Austin
It can be extremely tempting on cold days to just crank the heater up and revel in the endless warmth that your furnace can provide but one of the best things you can do to extend the life of your furnace is by being reasonable with its usage.
Be reasonable about the temperatures you set your thermostat to. On a 40 degree day, don’t set your thermostat to 82 degrees. It will never reach that temperature, but it will run all day trying. Another great way to ensure that your system gets rest is to install a programmable thermostat. By having one, when you're not home your system doesn't have to work as hard, but you can set it to be your desired temperature for when you arrive home. This can also be usage in conjunction with another big tip when it comes to your furnace, don’t go overboard when you and the rest of the household is sleeping. It’s been shown that people’s metabolisms slow down while they’re asleep, meaning your body doesn’t need to be in as warm of an environment to sleep peacefully. Combine this with the fact that you can add warm blankets to make you as comfy and cozy as you desire and there’s no reason you can’t turn the thermostat down a few notches during the night.
It’s important to note that using your thermostat reasonably will not only benefit the lifespan of your furnace by keeping it from having to work as hard and as a long, it will also make a significant and obvious impact in your utility bills. In the winter, you can save energy and keep your costs in check by keeping your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit while you are at home during the daytime. Energy.gov reports that turning your thermostat lower by 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours per day will help you see an energy usage reduction of 5 to 15 percent per year on your bill. Use warm clothes and perhaps additional heating supplements like space heaters or a fireplace to make up for the difference in temperature if you so desire.
Seal Your Home
There are two aspects to Austin heating via your furnace that are intimately connected to one another: energy efficiency and furnace lifespan. There are many reasons for this. For instance, the closer a furnace gets to the end of its lifespan, the more you’re going to see a reduction in energy efficiency. Also, the more you can increase the energy efficiency of your furnace, the long it’s going to last. This cause and effect is especially important and relevant to our message in this tip of the day. The more you can do to increase the efficiency of your furnace, the longer you’re going to delay its expiration. That’s because an energy efficient machine is going to work less hard and accumulate less wear and tear.
Now that we have established that a furnace that works harder will tire out and give out sooner, find ways to take a load off of your system. The best way to do this is to make your home more air tight. The more places where air and heat can escape the house, the harder your furnace is going to have to work to make up for this lost heat. So seal any air leaks, especially from your basement or attic. Also, be sure your ducts are insulated. If you are unsure, have an Austin heating and cooling repair expert take a look for you.
The infiltration of cold air and the escape of conditioned air causes your system work harder to compensate. Leaky ductwork accounts for up to 40 percent of lost warm air, which your furnace has to replace. Insulate ducts that run through unconditioned spaces. Residential heating and cooling systems need to have leaks outside the home sealed to keep a furnace from working too hard to heat the home. Sealing air leaks and insulating the ducts can prevent as much as a 40 percent loss of warm air.
All of this can be done by you if you have the know-how but it can also easily be done by a trained professional. If you think you have a problem with leaking air and poor insulation in your home consider hiring someone to seal and insulate your home if you want to maximize your furnace’s lifespan and minimize your energy bills.
Maximizing Your Heater’s Life and Heating Repair in Austin
Your furnace is a valuable machine that will bring many years of comfort to you if you take care of it. There are many things you can do to help extend the lifespan of the furnace and some of the most effective of these things can be seen in the article above. These things aren’t particularly hard or complicated. For the most part it’s simple things like remembering to change the air filters regularly and having your HVAC system checked up on annually.
Don’t hesitate to call an Austin heater repair company if you notice anything wrong with your heating in Austin. AC Express is one such company that has been bringing excellent attention and care to our customers in the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Georgetown to Leander and Taylor for many years. If you require heater repair in Austin, look no further. Call today!
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