The typical life cycle of a newer model furnace is 15 to 20 years. At 15 years, you should begin examining replacement options. However, there are a few simple steps that will ensure you get the maximum lifespan out of your heating system. To improve the life and efficiency of your furnace, try the following tips:
Check and replace the furnace filter on a regular basis
By blocking air flow, dirt in a furnace filter forces your heating system to work harder. Changing your filter on a regular basis is the easiest and quickest way to increase efficiency and keep the air in your home cleaner. To avoid shortening the lifespan of your furnace, change a fiberglass or paper furnace filter every one to two months and change or clean an electrostatic or HEPA filter every two to four months. High quality filters yield the best results. Keep a supply of filters on hand, and when you do change the filter, make sure to mark your calendar on the next date to change or clean the filter.
Get an annual furnace tune-up in the fall
When your furnace is not in use during the summer months , dust and mold can accumulate in the heating system. To prepare for the months of use in the winter, have a heating and air-conditioning technician inspect your furnace. Professional tune-ups include inspections, cleaning, tests, and adjustments that ensure that every component of your heating system is operating properly. It’s best to hire a reputable company that can replace and repair heating equipment. If your unit is over 10 years old and/or repair costs are substantial, consider furnace replacement instead of repair. You’ll want to keep the company contact information handy and call for service when you see warning signs of problems with your furnace. These signs include frequent repairs, constant running, turning on and off too frequently, odors, noises when starting, and sudden increases in your utility bill.
Seal air leaks and use a programmable thermostat for your heating system
Sealing air leaks (including your attic and basement) with caulk and weather-stripping will help increase the efficiency of your heating system. To prevent overuse of your furnace when no one is at home, install a programmable thermostat. According to the Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can save up to 30% on heating and cooling bills. Lowering the temperature setting on your thermostat will also reduce running time. This will increase the longevity of your system. Using a smart home thermostat like the Nest or the Ecobee can adjust temperatures even more specifically, to the minute and the degree.
Remove clutter from around air vents
Blocked air vents decrease the efficiency of your heating system. To boost airflow, remove all objects from the front of air ducts and air returns. Additionally, you can leave the vents and doors to all rooms in your house open to encourage airflow. This is because closing vents in your home causes stress on the blower motor and reduces the lifespan of your furnace. Over time, the furnace can sustain substantial damage. In addition to making your furnace work harder, closed vents increase the cost of heating your home.
No matter what preventive measures you take, there is a possibility your furnace will not make it through the winter. Do you have the budget for this expense? For extra peace of mind, consider purchasing a home warranty.