Now that we’ve settled into the heating season here in the St. Louis area, it’s a good time to talk about gas furnace maintenance and what you can do to keep your unit running smoothly throughout the winter.
As always, we’d like to stress the importance of having a professional technician perform preventive maintenance on your furnace first and foremost. This is the best way to ensure your unit is in tip-top shape this time of year when you need it most. After you’ve had your unit inspected, there are a number of things you can do on your own to maintain the performance of your gas furnace.
It’s a good idea to periodically check that your furnace is working properly. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine that:
- Is my furnace shutting off when it should? Check your thermostat to see what the high set point is and ensure that your furnace turns off when the temperature in your home reaches that point.
- Is my pilot light lit and blue? If you have an older unit that uses a pilot light, look to see that it is lit when your furnace isn’t running and that it is burning a bright blue. A pilot light that isn’t lit or is burning a different color is an indication that something’s wrong with your unit.
- Are my ducts tightly sealed? Inspect your ductwork to ensure that there are no holes or unpeeled tape that could be allowing air to escape.
Now that you know your furnace is running properly, make sure to perform the following tasks to keep it that way:
- Clean and clear return grilles and floor grates: In order to maximize air flow and prevent a dirty air filter, clean all return grilles and floor grates and make sure that they are clear of any obstructions
- Check and replace air filter: This is perhaps the most important task you can perform in order to keep your furnace running safely and efficiently. Check and/or replace dirty air filters at least once a month.
- Make sure your CO detector is working: Although you might not be able to tell if you have a carbon monoxide leak, your carbon monoxide detectors sure will. Check to make sure that they are all operating and have fresh batteries.