Waking up to an icy-cold home is never fun, but it happens all too often. In addition to being uncomfortable and potentially unsafe for the occupants, furnace failures during the heating season also put your home's plumbing and fixtures at risk of expensive freeze damage. While not every furnace failure can be avoided, many of them can just by using helpful tips.
Replace the batteries in thermostats regularly
In most homes, furnace thermostats are connected directly to the power supply and require no batteries. In a smaller number of homes, where battery-powered thermostats are in use, it is important to replace the battery on a regular schedule, always using a fresh one. Even thermostats that hook into the electrical supply usually have a battery backup that can affect the operation of the furnace, making it important to also change them regularly, as well.
Keep the filters clean, especially during periods of heavy usage
Simple household dirt, dust, and grime can endanger the operation of your furnace, especially when allowed to build up over time. When dirt clogs the filter, the furnace must work harder to force the heated air it produces out through the smaller openings. This builds pressure inside the unit that can potentially damage the furnace fan or other components.
While most furnace filters call for replacement every three months, doing so more often can help your furnace run better and use less energy during periods of heavy use, such as during very cold weather. Homes that are very dusty or those that have pets may need to change their furnace filters each month, especially during peak usage times. Homeowners who worry about forgetting to attend to this task should consider adding a note to their calendar or setting an alert on their smartphone.
Have the furnace serviced before the start of each heating season
The old saw that says "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is never a good motto for homeowners who want to enjoy uninterrupted heat during a long, cold winter. Even HVAC systems that appear to be working fine can have worn components, belts, or wiring connections that are nearing failure. Having the heating system professionally serviced before the start of each heating season is the smart way to ensure that any failing parts are replaced and the entire system is carefully evaluated and adjusted to meet the coming demands of the heating season.
In addition, servicing before the heating season arrives is the best way to help prevent the need for more costly, emergency repairs later when keeping the home warm becomes critical for the health and safety of the family living there.