Avoid Costly Furnace Repairs In Medford, Sicklerville, and South Jersey
Winter is coming. Is your furnace ready for it? Or, are you prepared to shell out for costly repairs?
If the answer to the first question is yes, then you’re much less likely to have to worry about the second.
Once the cold weather rolls in, your heater will be working around the clock to keep you warm and comfortable. So, before you need the heat, make sure your furnace is up to the task.
As insulation experts and energy consultants, along with our heating repair and installation work, we know all about the problems homes — and heaters — face in Medford, Sicklerville, and other towns in South Jersey.
How to Avoid Costly Furnace Repairs
By following these four steps, you can avoid ending up paying for furnace repairs this winter:
- Get a Tune-Up
- Replace Your Air Filter
- Keep Your Vents Clear
- Get Your Ductwork Inspected
But, before we get into these specifically, let’s take a look at a common theme behind them.
A Common Cause of Furnace Problems
Before we get into the best ways to avoid needing an HVAC repair job, let’s look at what’s behind most of these problems. Of course, the causes vary. But, a lot of them boil down to one thing: Overworking the furnace.
In some way or another, you’re making your HVAC system work harder than it should. This wears out the component faster than usual. Or, it causes more stress than the system is equipped to handle.
When that happens, you end up with a furnace on the fritz.
Keep this in mind as we look through these tips. The idea behind them is to make it, so you don’t overwork your heater.
Avoiding Costly Furnace Repairs
Now, let’s look at those tips one by one.
Get a Tune-Up
One of the best ways to avoid furnace breakdowns is through preventative maintenance. That means getting a heater tune-up before the cold weather hits.
A tune-up is when a tech comes out to clean, inspect, and optimize your heater before you start using it for the season.
There’s a long list of items that they cover on a tune-up. But, the big points are that they:
- – Repair or replace broken or worn-out parts
- – Check all electrical components and collection
- – Clean and lubricate all moving components
The big thing here is heading off any problems. It costs much less to replace one worn-down part before it causes a more costly issue.
And, when everything’s working correctly, the heater won’t get overworked by trying to compensate for a weak spot somewhere.
Meanwhile, you’ll see some other savings along the way too. When your system is optimized, it works as efficiently as possible.
This way, it needs less energy to get the job done. And, when it uses fewer resources, you don’t pay as much on your utility bills.
Replace Your Air Filter
This is something you can — and should — do yourself: Replace the air filter at least four times a year. Doing this helps your heater circulate the air in your house. And, you’ll save the system from overworking.
The air filter is a thin screen that traps dirt, dust, pet dander, allergens, and other contaminants as it passes through your HVAC system. This way, that junk doesn’t end up circulating through the air.
But, eventually, that filter gets so full it becomes clogged. When that happens, your airflow starts the suffer.
You’ll probably notice weaker heat: There’s not enough forced air coming through the vents to keep you warm.
But, there could be a bigger problem brewing: The system is now working harder and harder to get your home to the temperature you want.
That extra stress can cause a premature breakdown. You also run into problems when heat backs up into the system. It can cause the inner parts to overheat and crack. At that point, forget about repairs: You may need an entirely new system.
Fortunately, changing the air filter is inexpensive and easy. The screens cost less than $10. And, you just have to slide out the old one and put the new one in its place.
Keep Your Vents Clear
A common cause for weak airflow in your house is a blocked vent. People don’t always realize that you need a good 18 inches of open space around every vent. Otherwise, the air doesn’t circulate properly.
Even if there’s just one vent in the house that’s blocked, it can throw off the airflow on an entire floor.
What’s worse is if the blockage is bad enough that the heat has nowhere to go.
Remember that the furnace is pushing enough air to circulate through the entire house. When you cut off those openings, the forced air backs up into the system.
If you’ve arranged a room in a way that blocks a vent, you should move the furniture around before you start using your heater. Make sure you give each opening a good foot-and-a-half of clearance.
Get Your Ductwork Inspected
Ductwork inspection isn’t always necessary, but it’s worth mentioning. Leaky ducts can equal weak airflow and an overworked system.
The truth is, no ductwork is airtight. As a result, the air that’s supposed to circulate throughout the house escapes through small holes and gaps.
But, there’s a limit to how much air escapes. Too much, and you’ve got a problem. And, you’ll likely notice first on the top floor.
The system naturally loses pressure the further the air has to travel. So, the farthest rooms from the furnace would feel the difference first. Sometimes, it’s a matter of gaps and sealant wearing out. Other times, there’s damage or a hole somewhere.
Now, a ductwork inspection shouldn’t be your first go-to when you notice rising energy bills, more frequent breakdowns, and weaker heat. But, if you’ve followed these other tips and you’re still having a problem, this may be the next step.
If you’re noticing problems with your heat, or you want to go into the cold season prepared, give Bovio a call! We’ve served families all over South Jersey, from Burlington down to Atlantic County.