Manufacturers design furnaces to operate a certain way. When installed and used according to manufacturer specifications, a furnace provides optimal performance, able to heat your home adequately regardless of the weather outside. Taking care of the furnace during its lifetime ensures it is efficient, reliable, and safe. However, keep in mind that optimizing a furnace’s performance includes addressing other issues in your house – not just maintaining the furnace. Your furnace has to be in the right home environment to function properly and deliver the results you expect from a quality product. Below, we look at 10 things you can do to get peak performance from your furnace this winter.
1. Read the Owner’s ManualOne of the best ways to keep your system running as it should also is one of the simplest: read the owner’s manual. By doing so, you will understand how your system runs and what it requires to perform at its best. Try to find information on the following topics:
- HVAC filter requirements
- Maintenance schedules
- Troubleshooting and identifying issues
- How to clean your furnace
- Compatibility with your HVAC system, wiring, thermostat, and other components
2. Schedule Professional Furnace MaintenanceRegardless of how advanced or well-built a furnace is, it requires routine annual maintenance to perform at optimal levels. Different models require specialized maintenance at various frequencies. However, nearly all plumbing experts agree that you should schedule professional furnace maintenance from a plumber at least once a year – preferably in the early fall before it gets cold outside. When hiring a technician for furnace maintenance, look for a licensed and certified technician to work on your furnace brand and model. Some technicians earn manufacturer certification, making them officially licensed technicians for the manufacturer brand. The point is to find a technician with experience working on your furnace.
3. Clean the Air Flowing Through Your FurnaceDirty air collects in the furnace, causing wear on the moving parts. It is important to keep the furnace clean to optimize its performance throughout the winter season. There are several ways to get indoor air quality.
Air Filtration SystemInstalling a whole-house filtration system can purify the air circulating throughout your house. The filtration system traps up to 99.9% of contaminants, purifying the air that flows through the filter. It is effective for cleaning the air because it removes dirty particles before the air reaches any room in your house.
Air Duct CleaningOne of the dirtiest areas in your house is the air ducts. Dirty air that escapes your air filter settles in the air ducts and builds up over time. Dirty air can also enter the ductwork if the ducts are damaged or have a loose connection. Schedule professional air duct cleaning every three to five years to remove dirt buildup in the ductwork. It is an effective way to clean the air in your home.
High-Efficiency HVAC Air FilterInstead of wasting money on standard HVAC filters, invest in a high-efficiency air filter. A higher-quality air filter traps more dirt and pollutants that clog your furnace, hindering its operation. Most high-efficiency air filters have a MERV rating of 13 or higher.
4. Create an Insulated EnvironmentAnother effective way to get the most out of your furnace is to insulate the environment in which it operates. If your doors, window, and attic are filled with holes that allow drafts in and out of the house, your system has to work twice as hard to distribute warm air. You may want to schedule a professional home energy audit. Utility companies may provide one in your area. An audit may reveal poorly-insulated areas in your home. To create a better envelope out of your house, do the following:
- Make sure your windows are properly sealed and closed on all sides.
- You may want to add a layer of plastic over your windows during the winter.
- Check for drafts around your outside doors and replace any loose or damaged seals.
- Inspect your attic or crawl space insulation. You may need to replace part or all of it.
- Look for any holes or cracks in your walls, ceiling, and flooring.