Whether it’s a furnace, heat pump or mini-split heating system in your home, taking proactive steps can prevent breakdowns. For instance, regularly replacing air filters will prevent clogs that strain the system.
Cleaning away dust and debris around your unit will lower repair costs, and ensuring doors and windows are draft-free can also save energy bills.
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Check your thermostat
Malfunctions are common but if you discover one in your unit, it is critical that you act promptly – or else the issue could worsen and cause irreparable damage to your system. The first thing to check would be your thermostat; if that isn’t functioning as it should be, it could be as simple as tripped circuit breakers or a dirty sensor.
If your thermostat is nonresponsive, try changing batteries and flipping the switch. If that doesn’t help, shut off your water heater breaker before using a screwdriver to remove both upper and lower thermostat access panels using an Allen key and an extension cord. Don’t forget your multimeter so you can test continuity before proceeding further with any repair attempt.
Standard thermostats operate at 24 volts, making shock unlikely. Still, as an extra safety measure, you should switch off power to your water heater when opening panels and test both thermostats for continuity by touching one lead of your multimeter to the R terminal and another to the G, W or Y terminal on each thermostat.
If the readings show zero ohms, your thermostat no longer receives power and may need replacing. By discovering and rectifying the problem quickly, hopefully, it can be avoided before becoming an irreparable breakdown.
Clean the furnace
Whether you own or rent, maintaining a clean furnace will result in lower utility costs. Dirty components cause systems to work harder and hasten the aging of essential parts such as blower motors, switches, and heat exchangers. Clogged and restricted air filters impose unnecessary strain on systems by forcing them to work harder than necessary.
A malfunctioning burner won’t fully burn fuel to produce warm air, leaving behind visible soot. Furthermore, its thermostat may fail to properly gauge ambient temperatures, prompting it to shut off early – both issues being telltale signs of electrical or mechanical failures that should only be managed by qualified professionals.
Furnaces require adequate natural gas, liquid propane or heating oil to combust and produce heat for your home. If these supplies run low, refilling the tank may be necessary or contacting your gas provider may help.
Check the filters
An air filter in need of replacement restricts airflow and puts undue strain on your system. Overwork causes its components to wear out faster, driving up energy bills further.
Visual inspection should easily reveal whether or not your filter is clogged with dust, but touching it might give a clue; rougher surfaces indicate it may be time for a replacement. Just be sure that it fits the size requirements for your furnace as well as having an appropriate MERV rating; consult the owner’s manual for details.
Dirty filters can reduce airflow, placing additional strain on your HVAC system and shortening its lifespan. Ensure they’re changed according to their manufacturer’s recommendation, or as soon as they appear dirty during winter, mainly manual dampers being kept open or automatic ones closed off, as this could limit airflow to rooms needing it.
Filters must be regularly changed so that all of the air entering your home has been properly filtered; otherwise, any dust that passes unfiltered could recirculate into your breathing air and system components, potentially endangering the health and wreaking havoc with its internal workings.
Check that your vents are clear of furniture or other obstructions, which could impact airflow and lead to system issues. Also, consider cleaning your ductwork professionally if the vents appear old and clogged.
Therefore, a regular filter change helps avoid costly heating system repair bills while making your home more comfortable, saving energy costs and saving money with each bill you pay.
Schedule regular maintenance
Preventive maintenance of your heating system is key for its optimal performance and lower energy bills, and regular service visits are ideal to find and resolve minor problems before they become major headaches that require expensive repairs or even replacement.
Maintenance typically includes cleaning, lubricating and inspecting your heating system. Your technician may check refrigerant levels, as low levels can lead to numerous problems with your unit. A properly functioning fuel-burning furnace only produces small amounts of carbon monoxide.
Normally, this gas is dissipated through its venting system; if malfunctioning causes higher concentrations, it could pose serious threats to human health.
Recognizing early warning signs of HVAC issues is critical to avert severe problems during wintertime, including heating breakdowns. Being vigilant with the thermostat settings, regularly changing filters, maintaining adequate airflow, inspecting and cleaning ductwork, and being prepared for emergencies are all great ways of mitigating heating breakdowns.
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