Don't Forget to Maintain Your Furnace This Summer

During the summer, your mind may focus on only one thing: staying cool. Fans, air conditioners, light clothing, and trips to the swimming pool all give you relief as the temperatures rise.

Naturally, when you put your mental efforts into eating ice cream and taking cold showers, you might forget about your furnace. After all, the last thing you need right now is something that warms your home.

However, your furnace needs a little maintenance this season if you want it to run smoothly come winter. To prepare your unit for its own summer vacation, add the following tasks to your to-do list (or make sure to request that your friendly neighborhood HomeSmart technician perform a furnace tune-up this summer, which includes these tasks)…

  1. Change the Air Filter
    Your furnace filter stays tucked away out of sight throughout the year. But just because it's out of sight doesn't mean it should be out of mind.

    If you have a dirty filter, your heating and cooling system will have to work harder to pull in outside air. Over time, a dirty air filter will create extra wear and tear on your motors and fans, decreasing your unit's lifespan.

    As a general rule, you should change 1-inch pleated filters every month. High-efficiency furnaces with 3- inch filters will need a replacement filter every three months. If you smoke, have allergies, or care for pets, you'll want to check your filter even more often.

    Can't remember the last time you replaced your air filter? Give it a quick glance. If it looks dirty, gray, or clogged, swap it out.

  2. Clean the Blower Assembly
    Although your air filter does an excellent job at catching dust, debris, and large particles, your filter can't hold everything. Some contaminants will find their way through your ducts and to your furnace, and this debris decreases your unit's efficiency.

    To keep your furnace in great shape, you'll want to clean the blower assembly once a year. Before you begin, unplug your furnace and turn off any backup battery or power systems. Then, remove the front panel of your furnace, slide out the fan unit, and run a low-powered handheld vacuum over the fan blades and belts.

    If you don't feel comfortable cleaning the unit yourself, hire a technician to inspect and clean your furnace for you.  Keep in mind that the blower assembly may have a few delicate wire connections, so it may be best to leave it to the professionals at HomeSmart.  That’s what we’re here for!

    3. Check for Loose Connections

    When your furnace turns off and on during the winter, it likely vibrates as the fans start and the motors run. This vibration combined with temperature fluctuations cause many wires and connections to loosen over time. Eventually, the loose wires will short, tripping your circuit breaker.

    As you clean and maintain your furnace, inspect the connections for any loose wires. Tighten any screws or bolts as needed. You should note that some loose wires may be hard to spot if you don't have an in-depth knowledge of your furnace. If your furnace regularly tripped your circuit breaker during the winter season, don't hesitate to call in the HomeSmart service experts to find and fix the short.

Let Your Unit Enjoy Its Vacation
When you perform the above tasks, you can get ahead of the game and spot problems early (again, be sure to call HomeSmart for a furnace tune-up this summer to avoid long scheduling delays in the fall, when the majority of customers typically call to schedule tune-ups). As you change air filters, clean your unit, and check for loose connections, you can ensure that your unit will perform at its best when you need it again this winter, and it will also help extend the life of the furnace for the many winters yet to come.

Once you've finished these tasks, feel free to cool off. You and your furnace deserve a break this summer!

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