Winter Maintenance PSA
With the coldest days of winter yet to come, now is a good time to finish up any routine furnace maintenance that may need to be taken care of. Some of the steps described below will be technician-level tasks that should only be attempted by qualified individuals. Always follow safety instructions when working with heating and cooling systems to reduce risk of personal injury or damage to components or property.
General Ventilation Maintenance
Check the settings on your thermostat to make sure that your heating and cooling system is working to keep you comfortable when you’re home, and conserving energy when you’re away.
Ensure that all electrical connections are tight, and measure voltage and current on all motors. Poor connections create hazardous conditions, and increase wear and tear on the system.
Appropriately lubricate all moving parts. This will reduce friction and wear on the motors, as well as decrease electricity consumption.
Inspect and clear the condensate drain in your central heating and cooling units. Plugged drains can lead to water damage in the house, and affect indoor humidity.
Ensure that thermostat controls are operating properly. The system should be able to cycle (start, run, and turn off) automatically.
Inspect air filters monthly, and clean or change as appropriate. Most air filters are easy to inspect, and will lower energy costs and increase longevity of your equipment.
Use window insulation kits to prevent heat leakage. This will lower heating bills and reduce wear on the system.
Cooling Specific Maintenance
Clean evaporator and condenser coils. Dirty coils decrease system efficiency, causing increased run-time and energy costs while shortening the life of the system.
Check the refrigerant level of your central A/C unit, and adjust accordingly. If there is too much or too little refrigerant, the system may be running inefficiently, may be using too much energy, or may be being used in a way that will shorten the lifespan of the system.
Clean and adjust the blower components to optimize airflow and comfort. Poor airflow can be responsible for up to a 15% loss in efficiency.
Heating Specific Maintenance
Check all fuel connections. Improper gas or oil connections are a fire hazard, and represent serious health risks.
Check gas pressure. Winter conditions can cause moisture found in natural gas to freeze the diaphragm inside pressure regulators. Anti-rust paint can be applied to prevent leaks at joints.
Check burner and heat exchanger. Dirty burners or cracked heat exchangers can lead to equipment malfunction.