Saving energy is in the forefront of our minds nowadays since fuel prices are rising rapidly. The global climate is also changing. The weather pattern is unpredictable in almost every country on earth due to adverse climactic changes brought about by pollution in the atmosphere according to recent scientific research. There are droughts, floods, tornadoes and other storms that have many citizens running for cover when these disasters hit their area. In northern climates residents are now more conscientious about preparing for the winter season due to these unpredictable weather patterns caused by these climatic changes.
Knowing that these conditions exist, residents exposed to harsh winter weather should take no chances when it comes to making their heating system efficient. In the height of winter you do not want to worry about facing the freezing cold weather when the heating system breaks down. While your furnace may be in operational condition, the question is whether it is working efficiently. If it is not, then you should schedule a tune-up long before winter begins.
When the weather is warm outside you may not think about your heating system since winter is far away. But, you do not want to be caught in the middle of winter to get this job done because you may run into unpleasant surprises when you start to perform the tune up. It could be uncomfortable and costly in deep winter if you have to repair your furnace.
Saving energy by giving your furnace a tune up is a very good idea. So here are some basic procedural steps to ensure you have an efficient heating system.
Furnace Check-up This is just like visiting your doctor or taking your car to the mechanic. But, for your home the check up is as follows:
- -Inspect the thermostat to ensure that it is functioning properly.
- Inspect the filter to ensure that it is not clogged with dust and dirt and is blocking the air flow. A clogged filter will increase the consumption of electricity as the motor wil have to work harder to move the air through the filter.
- Check and test all the controls. If they are defective get them replaced.
- Oil the motor at all lubricating points with the approved oil recommended by the manufacturer.
- Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks. Cracks will allow carbon monoxide to enter your living space and could be detrimental to your health and safety.
- Check the air flow through your diffuser. If it is below the normal flow you may need to clean the evaporator coil of dust build up on the metal fins on the coil.
- For good combustion of fuel and air, you need to check the fuel to air mixture.
Furnace Maintenance: It is a wise practice to check your furnace every year before the cold weather approaches. To ensure your furnace is working to full capacity here are some checks you must perform.
- Remove all combustible material that are stored next to the furnace like gas cans, lawn mowers, appliances, tools or machines that use combustible fuel.
- Turn on your heater or heating system and run it for a few minutes to ensure it is working. Test out the controls to ensure they are functioning normally. Do this long before the cold weather approaches.
- Decide on a time period when you should change the air filter. You can learn this from experience over time as you know the condition of the filter. A clogged filter will restrict air flow and can cause your heat exchanger to overheat thus reducing the efficiency of your heating system. Fiberglass filters should be replaced as they are disposable.
- Electronic and electrostatic filter should be washed and oiled where applicable before replacing.
- Replace all access panels with the appropriate screws properly
- Set the thermostat in the heating mode when you need heating. The heating system will not be activated if it is set in the air conditioning mode
Some important things to know about your furnace.
- You may get a noxious smell when you first turn on our heating system. This is not carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless and can cause death in large volumes when there is little or no ventilation. However, this smell is the burning of the minute particles of dust that settled on the heat exchanger of your heating system when it was off during the summer months. To cure this problem you can open the windows for a short while and let the smell escape then shut the window and you will be all set for the winter. When we all contribute to saving energy doing regular maintenance on our machinery and appliances, this will help to reduce our dependency for foreign oil.