In the middle of the winter, the last thing you probably want to deal with is a faulty furnace. After footing the bill for family gatherings and expensive gift-a-thons, you might not be able to afford the $400 to $12,000 cost of a new gas heater. Fortunately, you might be able to hang onto your existing unit for a little longer by making the right choices. Here are two ways to extend the life of your furnace with heating repair and tips, so that you can spend your money on other things:
1: Reduce Its Workload
If you let your vacuum cleaner run 24/7, how long do you think it would last? Although most people would never let one of their appliances run constantly, furnaces are easy to overlook. As it sits in your utility closet, your heater might kick on day-in and day-out, constantly working to regulate your home's indoor temperature.
This constant workload can wear out your system and reduce functionality, leaving your home cold and uncomfortable. Fortunately, you might be able to take some of the burden off of your heater by doing these things:
- Thermostat Programming: How many times have you paid to heat your home when you aren't even around to enjoy it? To save some money and to protect your furnace, take the time to program your thermostat. Schedule lower temperatures for when you know you will be away at work or school, and warmer temperatures for when you will be home. In addition to using your furnace less frequently, this simple tactic can save you as much as 15% for every 8-hour period you turn your thermostat back 10-15 degrees.
- Vent Closures: To control your heating expenses, you might be tempted to go through your home and shut as many unused vents as possible. Unfortunately, closing your vents can actually interfere with your home's HVAC balance, making your system work harder than it needs to. To reduce your furnace's workload, never close more than 20% of your heater vents. Instead, program your thermostat and let your system regulate itself.
- Ceiling Fans: You might ignore those ceiling fans during the winter months, but they can actually help you to circulate warmed air and use your furnace less frequently. By flipping a switch on your ceiling fan, you can make your blades run clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, which will push heated air downwards towards living spaces. In fact, using ceiling fans this way during the winter could save you as much as 15% on heating expenses.
If you are wondering which vents to close or how to program your thermostat, talk with an HVAC professional. In addition to performing an energy audit, they might be able to make other helpful recommendations that will keep your home warmer—without wearing out your furnace.
2: Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Wouldn't it be nice if you could anticipate potential furnace problems before your heater shuts down in the middle of the night? Although it might sound like an impossible feat, HVAC professionals can conduct preventative maintenance on your system, so that you can learn about existing issues. Here are a few things your technician might inspect and why:
- Noises: If your furnace makes rattling or banging noises, it might have loose internal parts banging against other system components. To keep your heater healthy, experts will listen for trouble, tighten screws, and replace damaged parts.
- Odors: A smelly furnace might signal problems with moisture, mold, or even leaking gas. If your HVAC professional detects strange smells, he or she might replace internal gas lines, adjust humidifier settings, or inspect your system for rust spots.
To stay on the safe side, most experts recommend having your furnace checked at least once a year.
By taking care of your furnace, you might be able to save a little money and enjoy a safe, comfortable home.