It’s cold outside and your furnace is working overtime to keep your home warm and cozy. If it’s getting some years on it, you’re probably gritting your teeth a little, hoping it will survive another winter. You’re not alone. Furnaces typically last only about 15 years before they need to be replaced, and, like any major appliance, need regular maintenance to reduce the risk of breaking down unexpectedly.
But you’re in luck! There are a few really simple things you can do to keep your HVAC system up and running, and extend its overall lifespan.
1) Change Air Filters Frequently
Most homeowners don’t change their air filters nearly as often as needed. Dirty air filters can lead to poor air quality inside your home, and can potentially damage your furnace. When filters are dirty, your furnace has to work extra-hard to maintain airflow, resulting in a shorter lifespan of your system. Changing your air filters regularly is one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to maintain your heating and cooling system. Most filter manufacturers recommend changing your filters every three months, but the life of a filter can depend on specific conditions in your home. For instance, you many need to change your filters more often if you have pets or smokers in the home, or if you’ve been doing projects around the house that stir up a lot of dust.
2) Upgrade Your Thermostat
If your home has an outdated analog thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable version. Older thermostats don’t have the same precision as newer, advanced models, and may cause your furnace to work harder to maintain your desired indoor temperature.
3) Keep Your Home Well Insulated
Unfortunately, heat can escape through windows, doors, chimneys, attics, and even gaps between floorboards. Heat loss not only hits your wallet where it hurts most — it makes your furnace work extra hard to maintain a cozy temperature. Insulating your home is one of the best ways to keep your house warm and comfortable without putting extra strain on your furnace. Adding some insulation, sealing cracks between window frames and walls, and sealing leaks in your air ducts can help keep your home toasty all season long.
4) Schedule an Annual HVAC Inspection
It’s never a good idea to ignore any household appliance until something major is wrong, and your furnace is no exception! An annual inspection and a little preventative maintenance can catch issues early on, and help protect you from costly repairs down the road.
5) Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned
Just like your car or truck, heating and cooling systems perform better with regular maintenance. When done properly, air duct cleaning is super beneficial for the longevity of your entire HVAC system. Despite routinely replacing filters, your heating and cooling system gets dirty through everyday use. That dirt is filled with contaminants and air pollutants that can not only harm your indoor air quality, but can cause your heating and cooling system to work harder, significantly shortening the lifespan of your system.
There are several factors that can increase the need for regular air duct cleaning, such as the number of occupants in your home, whether you have pets or smokers, and if anyone in your house suffers from allergies. Any one of those situations can increase the frequency with which air ducts should be cleaned.
When you’re ready to hire a contractor to have your air ducts cleaned, we’re here to help! NADCA makes it really simple for homeowners to find the best-of-the-best when it comes to air duct cleaning professionals! All you need to do is input your zip code or region to search our online directory to find a NADCA member in your area. NADCA members have technicians on staff with advanced training and certification in HVAC system cleaning, who pledge to a higher level of customer service, and who follow NADCA’s standards for proper cleaning.