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How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

Your furnace is a hard-working appliance. Like any other appliance, its parts will wear down over time. However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your furnace lasts as long as possible.

1. Replace your furnace filter.

When is the last time you checked your furnace filter? Do you remember the last time you replaced it?

A dirty air filter is one of the most common contributors to furnace failure. A filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and dander makes it difficult for your furnace to handle air. This, in turn, causes increased wear-and-tear. Imagine trying to do a strenuous workout with a thick cloth around your mouth and nose, and you’ll get an idea of how hard it is for your furnace to work without enough air. Your furnace can even begin to overheat, increasing the risk of damage.

With regular filter maintenance, you can help your unit breathe easier and extend its life. Filters are relatively inexpensive, and they’re much cheaper than repairing or replacing your broken furnace. To help your furnace run as efficiently as possible, we recommend inspecting your furnace filter one a month and replacing it bi-monthly or as needed.

When installing your new filter, make sure you install it correctly to avoid airflow issues.

2. Check for proper airflow.

You may not be a professional furnace inspector, but there are things you can easily check to help ensure your furnace has the air it needs to operate properly.

  • Intake grills. Make sure there’s nothing blocking the air returns to your furnace, so it can operate properly.
  • Ducts. Visually inspect the ductwork for cracks, holes and gaps. Wave your hand over the joints to see if you feel any air leaking. Cool or cold air coming from the vents is another possible sign of leaking ductwork.
  • Filter Door. Make sure the air filter door is closed properly.
  • Air Vents. Walk around your house to make sure the air vents are open. If too many vents are closed, your furnace may not be able to work efficiently.

3. Get a professional furnace tune-up every fall.

Before you turn on your furnace on for the winter, it’s important to schedule a full furnace tune-up. An annual inspection can keep your furnace clean, identify worn parts, and uncover small issues before they turn into bigger repairs. A thorough furnace tune-up should help prevent the most common winter furnace repairs, like a worn and dirty ignitor and flame sensor problems.

When scheduling your appointment, keep in mind that many HVAC companies will offer an introductory tune-up for a low price. These may seem like a good bargain, but they’re often not in-depth enough to ensure your furnace is performing at its best.

For example, your furnace tune-up should always include a draft check and combustion analysis, which many of these low priced introductory tune-ups do not. The combustion process needs to be checked yearly to ensure safe operation. Gas leaks, high carbon monoxide levels, and improper drafting can be dangerous if not addressed. ALWAYS ask if these elements are included. They’re the only reliable way to assure the efficient and safe operation of your gas furnace.

While a furnace tune-up can’t 100% guarantee that your furnace won’t have any issues over the winter, it ensures you’re as prepared as you can be. Think of winter as a test—you’re better off passing if you study. A furnace tune-up is just like that.

Extend the life of your furnace with Althoff Industries.

Your furnace should last for many years with good maintenance. If you’re in the Greater Chicago area and need a furnace tune-up, inspection or repair, contact the expert technicians at Althoff Industries. Schedule your furnace service online or give us a call at (815) 455-7000.

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