With winter coming and so many homes in Sacramento relying on furnaces for their heat, you might be wondering how you can prepare your furnace for the winter. Since furnaces can start to work less efficiently or even break when they’re not taken care of, it’s essential you maintain yours and inspect it for damage. Before you switch on your heat, take a moment to review some of the main furnace tune-up steps you’ll want to take to ensure your heating system will keep your home warm all winter long.
Why You Should Perform Furnace Tune-Ups
Just like any piece of equipment, furnaces will start to face wear and tear as they age. When they’re not cared for properly, they’ll break faster and need more repairs. Regular furnace maintenance can help your furnace run at its best and prevent breakdowns during the heating season.
Another reason to perform furnace tune-ups is that they can improve your home’s air quality and ensure your heating system is safe. Furnace maintenance also saves you money on repairs and heating bills, as it helps your furnace use energy more efficiently and stops minor issues from turning into major ones. Additionally, you can extend your heating system’s service life by performing regular maintenance.
Read more about the top eight steps for furnace tune-ups here.
1. Check Your Furnace Filters
Clean furnace filters are essential to your furnace’s efficiency, meaning it’s critical to check them before the winter. If your filters are dirty, your furnace can suffer from restricted airflow, dangerous contaminants, overworking, and reduced efficiency. These factors can cause your furnace to break down and raise your energy costs.
While inspecting your furnace’s air filter, take it out and hold it up to a light source. When light isn’t passing through the filter, it’s too dirty, and you’ll need to replace it. If light passes through the filter, you can likely continue to use it. Keep in mind—most furnace filters need to be cleaned or replaced every one to three months.
2. Clean the Combustion Chamber
The inside of a combustion chamber can get dirty over time, and cleaning it out is essential to ensuring your furnace works efficiently. Before you attempt to clean the chamber out, take a moment to cut the furnace’s fuel supply and electrical power. You can switch off the fuel supply with the fuel shutoff valve. For the electrical power, flick the unit’s switch to the off position.
After turning off the power and cutting the fuel supply, open the combustion chamber door. Next, you can use a vacuum to clean out the interior. If you notice any corrosion in the chamber holes, call a professional to inspect them and create a plan of action.
3. Look for Blocked Vents
When you have a furnace that vents air out the side of your home, you’ll want to see if the exhaust or intake is blocked. Clear intakes and exhausts will allow air to flow around your home and outside of it easily. As a result, it’s a good idea to look for anything blocking your vents, such as animal nests, leaves, debris, and ice or snow. If you find anything blocking your vents, remove it.
4. Clear Debris from Blower Compartment
After turning off your furnace and cutting the fuel line, open the furnace’s blower compartment door. With the door open, vacuum out the blower compartment and remove any debris that could clog the system. Like the combustion chamber, search for holes and corrosion in the compartment and the exhaust flue. If you notice any holes or corrosion, call a professional to perform repairs.
5. Inspect Heat Exchanger for Signs of Damage
When a heat exchanger has cracks in it, carbon monoxide can leak out and poison people in your home. Typically, heat exchanger cracks occur due to overstressed coils. If you notice cracks in your heat exchanger, you should leave your home and have a professional look at the cracks as fast as possible. Since a professional is trained to look for signs of wear, it’s often best to hire them to perform any heat exchanger repairs for you.
6. Test and Adjust Your Gas Pressure
Your furnace’s gas pressure is key to its performance. A furnace with low gas pressure will suffer from poor efficiency and eventually start to corrode. High gas pressure can also negatively impact your furnace, as the excess heat the high pressure generates can damage internal components.
Since your gas pressure needs to be at an appropriate level, it’s critical to schedule regular pressure tests. A trained technician can quickly tell if your gas pressure is at the right levels. If your gas pressure is too low or high, the technician can adjust it for you and ensure your furnace runs at peak performance.
7. Schedule a Professional Inspection
While it’s safe to handle a few base furnace tune-up tasks on your own, you’ll likely want to turn to a professional for more complicated or dangerous tasks. By scheduling a professional inspection, an HVAC tech can look over your system and spot areas where you need furnace maintenance. These inspections can end up saving you a significant amount of money, as preventative maintenance and repairs can make your system more energy-efficient and stop costly breakdowns from happening.
You might also want to hire a professional when your furnace faces issues you can’t handle yourself. For example, if your furnace starts producing more soot than normal, a technician can diagnose the issue. You’ll also want to turn to a technician if your furnace is short-cycling or has an irregular flame, such as one producing a yellow flame instead of a blue one.
Choose Bonney for Furnace Tune-Ups in Sacramento & Concord
If you live in the Sacramento or Concord areas of California and need a furnace tune-up, turn to Bonney for your heating repair and maintenance needs. Since our team of HVAC experts knows the unique needs of Sacramento furnaces and heating systems, we’re prepared to thoroughly inspect your furnace and give it a full tune-up to prepare it for the winter. We can even provide a full heating system replacement if your current furnace is running on its last legs. You can review our heating services today, and schedule an appointment for the best furnace and AC tune-ups in Sacramento and Concord.