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Furnace

Maintenance tips for your
furnace

A furnace is the most common heating system in the U.S. and Canada. It heats the air and then distributes it through a duct system to warm homes.

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How does a furnace work?

  • How It Works: Furnace

    How It Works: Furnace

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How to care for your furnace

1. Make safety your top priority

Smoke detector

Remember to turn off power to your heating system before completing any kind of maintenance or repair on your furnace. You can turn off power to your furnace at the main electrical panel or by removing the fuse that controls the power to the unit. Some furnaces have a separate power panel – often at a different location than the main panel.

Mark your calendar for battery replacement of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. Regularly test them.

2. Always have a clean air filter in place

Furnace filter

Replace the air filter at least twice annually or more often if you live in a dusty environment. A dirty air filter will cause your furnace’s fan and motor to work harder, increasing energy usage. It will also restrict air flow, eventually leading to component failure and expensive repairs.

3. Every few years, hire professional ventilation cleaners to clean out ductwork

Clean out ductwork

4. Periodically check to make sure all vents and registers are obstruction free for proper airflow

Clean Vents

5. Clean out the furnace

Clean out furnace

Annually, remove your furnace’s access panels and use your vacuum and a long attachment to remove dust and debris that may have settled inside of and immediately surrounding the furnace.

6.Make sure that furniture and rugs are positioned at least three feet (or about one meter) from the furnace

Furnace

7. Prior to the heating season, do a heating system tune-up

Caulking window

Turn on your furnace and monitor your system’s thermostat to ensure that it’s working properly. Use expanding foam (available at home improvement stores) to seal holes around your home’s exterior. Inspect ductwork for air leaks and seal with duct tape. Inspect and repair caulking and/or weather-stripping around windows.

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Furnace frequently asked questions

This depends entirely on usage and proper maintenance but most furnaces will last 12-15 years.

  • Always have a clean air filter in place.
  • Periodically inspect your home’s registers to make sure rugs and furniture are not blocking them and restricting air flow.
  • Inspect ductwork for air leaks and seal with aluminum foil duct tape.
  • Set your thermostat to a few degrees below the temperature you normally have it set. You may not notice much of a change, but you’ll save a lot on energy.
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