As a homeowner, you want to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to keep your furnace in good working condition. Otherwise, the system can easily malfunction and eventually stop working altogether. Here are the 10 most common furnace mistakes to avoid so you can keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently all season long.
1. Cranking Up the Heat Too High
When it’s cold outside, it can be tempting to crank up your heat all the way. After all, if you want your home to be warm, shouldn’t you set the temperature as high as possible? Unfortunately, no. The higher the temperature is set, the harder your furnace has to work to maintain that temperature, which can lead to premature wear and tear. Running your furnace on high for long periods of time can also cause your energy bills to skyrocket.
So, what should you do instead? The best way to stay comfortable and save money is to keep your furnace set at a moderate temperature and to make sure your home has sufficient insulation.
2. Using Insufficient or Low-Quality Insulation
Most people know that insulation is vital for keeping their homes warm in the winter. However, many homeowners do not realize how important insulation can be for their furnaces. A poorly insulated house will cause your furnace to work overtime — and your energy bills will reflect that.
Additionally, insulation that does not completely cover your home can lead to condensation and mold growth, a potential hazard to your furnace and your health. Many homeowners are not even aware of small gaps in their home’s insulation. If you’re looking to save money on your energy bill and prolong the life of your furnace, make sure to invest in quality insulation or have a professional inspect the insulation that is already installed.
3. Closing Too Many Vents
Homeowners also make the mistake of closing vents to save money on their energy bills. Although it may seem like a good idea, this can cost more money in the long run. Any time you close vents, you’re restricting airflow to your furnace, which can cause the unit to overheat and potentially break down. This is both expensive to repair and a potential safety hazard. And, just like defective insulation, closing vents can result in higher energy bills and unnecessary damage to your system. Instead, keep your unit’s vents open throughout the year.
4. Failure to Change the Filter
You probably know that the filter in your furnace needs to be changed regularly, but you may not be doing it as often as you should. It’s best to change your furnace’s filter every few months, at a minimum. A dirty filter forces your furnace to work harder, which can eventually cause the unit to overheat and break down. In extreme cases, it can even start a fire. Be sure to change the filter regularly to keep your furnace running safely and smoothly.
5. Not Scheduling Annual Maintenance Appointments
While it might seem like a waste of time and money, regular tune-ups are essential for keeping your furnace running as it should. During a maintenance appointment, a technician will inspect and clean your furnace’s major components, including the burners, heat exchanger, blower, and flue. This not only helps to prevent minor problems from becoming major repairs, but it also extends your furnace’s lifespan and allows it to operate more efficiently. For decades, homeowners in St. Peters and the surrounding areas have trusted our heating and cooling experts at Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning to provide excellent furnace maintenance services.
6. Trying to Repair It Yourself
Even if you’re handy around the house, furnace repair is best left to the professionals. Furnaces are complex systems, and even a tiny mistake can lead to severe problems. For example, if you don’t correctly reconnect a gas line, you could cause a dangerous gas leak. And if you accidentally damage an electrical component, you could start a fire. In addition, many furnace problems require specialized tools and parts that most homeowners don’t have on hand. So, unless you’re confident that you can make the repairs safely and correctly, it’s always best to call a furnace repair technician.
7. Ignoring Warning Signs
Make sure you’re staying vigilant about maintenance and repairs to avoid a breakdown. If you notice your furnace making strange noises or running more frequently than usual, there could be a problem. While it may be tempting to put off repairs, it is best to call a professional as soon as you notice any problems. Addressing the issue early on will often be a quick, cheap fix and prevent any major damage from taking place.
8. Choosing a Contractor Based on Price Alone
While finding a good deal may be important to you, there are other factors to consider before deciding on a contractor. For instance, you’ll want to ensure that the contractor has plenty of experience and is appropriately licensed and insured. You can also ask for references from past clients and get a written estimate before work begins. By doing your research, you can be sure that you find the right contractor for the job — and avoid any costly mistakes. With close to five decades in operation, Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning draws on its ample experience to offer our clients exceptional heating and cooling solutions.
9. Choosing a System Based on Price Alone
Choosing a furnace is a big decision. Not only do you have to decide what type of fuel you want to use, but you also have to consider the size and efficiency of the unit. All too often, homeowners make the mistake of selecting a system based solely on its upfront cost. While staying within your budget may be essential, the lowest-priced option does not always have the best value. Cheaper furnaces often have lower heating capacities and shorter lifespans, which means they will cost you more in the long run. When shopping for a furnace, consider all the factors before making your final decision.
10. Waiting Too Long to Replace Your System
The average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years. If your unit is approaching this age, it may be time to start thinking about replacing it, especially if it’s making lots of noise or working at decreased capacity. A new furnace will be more energy efficient, safer, and less likely to break down. Replacing your furnace before it stops working will save you money in the long run and keep your home comfortable all winter long.
Engage the Experts
Furnaces are a significant investment for your home. Being proactive and taking steps to prolong your furnace’s lifespan will spare you from unnecessary headaches later on. If you run into any problems along the way or need an expert opinion, our team at Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning is always here to help. We specialize in heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repair services for your home. Our team also provides indoor air quality and water heater services. For the last 45 years, we have offered prompt and outstanding service to residents of the St. Peters area. Get in touch with us today!