Nearly every homeowner knows the pain of waking up in the morning to discover the furnace has mysteriously quit in the middle of the night. Sometimes the solution is as simple as click here for more info or calling for an oil delivery, but other times it requires the services of a heating technician. Emergency calls can be expensive and waiting even a few hours can put your family at risk in subzero weather. Although you can't avoid problems with your furnace completely, there are some measures your can take to reduce the risk of your furnace breaking down in the middle of the night.
Give Regular Maintenance
Your furnace needs to be cleaned and serviced at least once a year to keep it operating smoothly. This gives your heating technician a chance to inspect your furnace and spot any potential problems. Although a regular service call for cleaning does mean an additional cost, according to Acosta Heating and Cooling, you will save 5 to 10 percent on your yearly heating bill by making sure your furnace is operating as it should. You are also less likely to need emergency services throughout the year, which can translate to huge savings.
Turn Up the Heat Slowly
If you were under the impression that you should turn the heat up high and heat your home up quickly when it is cold inside, you may be mistaken. According to Mechanical Doctor, you should raise the temperature slowly when your home is cold to reduce the stress on your furnace. If your furnace has been off, or you have run out of oil, do not try to raise the temperature to a comfortable level in your home too quickly. For example, if the temperature in your home is 50 degrees, set the thermostat to 55 degrees and allow the furnace to heat the home to that level. Wait 10 to 15 minutes and raise the thermostat to 60 degrees. Let the furnace run to bring the household temperature up and repeat the process until your home reaches the desired temperature.The same applies when you start the furnace for the first time at the beginning of the heating season.
Keep Filters Clean
Cleaning the air filter to your furnace once a month lightens the load on the furnace. Neglecting to clean the air filter makes it harder for your furnace to draw in cool air and clogs the motor with dirt and grime. Get into the habit of cleaning or replacing the filter frequently to allow your furnace to operate a peak performance. Many filters can be removed and cleaned or vacuumed with your household vacuum cleaner.
Be Cautious with Timers
Using a timer to turn the heat down while you sleep, or while you are away for work or school, saves energy, but turning it back too much may defeat your purpose by causing more stress to your furnace. If you use a timer, set the thermostat back between 10 to 15 degrees. When temperatures drop more than 15 degrees your furnace will need to work twice as hard to bring the temperatures back up to a normal level, says JAMC Plumbing and Air Conditioning. It may consume more energy to bring the temperature back up than you save by turning it down while you are away.
Setting the Thermostat
Avoid the temptation to readjust the temperature frequently while you are at home. Choose a temperature that everyone in the family can live with and keep it set at that temperature. Constantly changing between 65 and 70 degrees when you feel a chill puts extra stress on your furnace. Keep a throw on the couch for those moments between cycles when the room begins to chill and leave the thermostat on one setting throughout the day or evening when everyone is home.
By showing your furnace the respect it deserves, you can reduce the risk of dealing with unexpected problems when you need the heat the most.