If your furnace is malfunctioning, the air or water being pushed through your home will feel cool, no matter what your thermostat setting. Replacing a furnace should probably be left to a pro, but there are things you should know about how they are set up to serve your home.
Furnace maintenance rests in your hands! Here are some tips to keep your heating system running efficiently!
Your furnace should have a circuit or fuse devoted solely to it by your breaker box. Your furnace should never cause your breaker box to cut off power–if it does, it has other elements feeding on its circuit and it is time to have an electrician who knows furnaces to come over and fix the problem.
Change Your Furnace Filter Frequently
A common problem in forced air systems is a dirty filter. Clogged filters greatly reduce the efficiency of your heating system, so replace your filter routinely. During seasons where you run your heater or air conditioner often, you should clean or replace the filter every 2-3 weeks. If your filter looks grayish when you remove it, you should be replacing it more often.
Bleeding Your Radiator
If you have a radiator system, it is important to purge it periodically to get rid of trapped air that will block water from filling it properly. At the topside of your radiator is a little port called a "bleeding valve." Yours may have a switch you can flip to open it, or you may need to use a special key, wrench or a screwdriver. With a cup ready to catch overflow, open the valve and let the air escape until water comes out, then close it again. Be careful as you proceed, as the water may be hot enough to burn skin.
Cleaning The Hot Water System
If you have a hot water heating system, you doubtless have a boiler stashed somewhere, most likely in the basement. During times when your heating demands are high, it's a good idea to drain the sediment out of your boiler. Near the bottom you'll see the drain valve. Open the valve to drain a couple of quarts into a large bucket (or until water runs clear). Be careful because the water will be hot. If the water coming out looks dark or has crud in it, you have gone too long without draining it. Doing this once a month should improve your boiler's performance and help extend its life.
Note: If the valve on your boiler has not been used in a long time (or ever!), it may not close completely once you open it. If this is the case, don't force it open unless you're prepared to replace the packing (the string wound round the threads of the stem inside the valve) if it leaks.