There are many ways to improve your gas furnaces output as well as make it last a long time. This is really where you should start. There is a lot of debate over whether you should keep maintaining the unit you have or replace it with a newer model. In reality if your furnace is doing it’s job properly you shouldn’t have to replace it. Although the costs of a new gas furnace have come down, this is something you really have to think about.
Basic routine maintenance should be done regularly. One thing is to change your furnace filters often; it is recommended that you replace them every other month if you have a heater air conditioning combination system. If you just have a heating system then you should replace the filter with a new one in the spring when you turn it off. This way you will have a fresh one already installed and you won’t forget.
Another thing you should do on a regular basis is to check any vents in the floors and along the baseboards where the heat comes out. Not only should you keep the the duct work clear of debris but you should vacuum the grates as often as you would vacuum the rest of the house. It may also be a good idea to have a professional come in at least once a year to clean out all the duct work thoroughly to get rid of cobwebs, dust and other airborne particles that may have collected.
In many cases using common sense can prevent having someone come out and repair your gas furnace. Every time you open the unit to change filters check the rest of the furnace as well. Before you go poking around turn off the gas and any electrical components first. Bring a vacuum and suck out where you can and check the belts to make sure they are tight. A worn or loose belt can dramatically reduce a furnace’s out put. You will want to vacuum any vents on the outside of the unit as well.
While you are inspecting the furnace itself if you smell gas you have a leak that needs to be fixed by a professional right away. If you are not sure you can find out by filling a spray bottle with soapy water and spray on places like junctions, connectors and wherever else you may suspect. If the water starts bubbling you have a leak.
There are other things that you should also check like the pilot light for build up, making sure your thermostat is working properly, and even oiling the motor and other moving parts need to be done on a regular basis. Some of these things you may be able to do using your owner’s manual but other things should be handled by a professional due to safety issues.
In order to make sure your furnace is living up to its capabilities there are other things you need to do. One of them is to do a regular walk through of the house and look for drafts. These can be found under and around windows and doors or from places without proper insulation. You may even have to consider them in order to improve heating quality.
Don’t fear, there is help to pay for these costs. The government has many programs through state and local agencies that can help in many ways. They will pay for an energy audit where a professional comes in and assesses your needs and recommends what you need to do. They can help pay for weather stripping and partial reimbursement for new energy efficient windows and many others.
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