Furnaces typically last 18 to 20 years, but a furnace can last 25 to 30 years with the right type of maintenance.
Spending a little time and money on furnace maintenance can help you get more life out of your unit before you have to replace it.
A properly maintained furnace also runs more efficiently. That means your utility bills are lower because you’re using less energy.
Most of the ways to extend the life of your furnace are easy to handle on your own. Others are available from your heating and cooling company if you’d rather leave it to a pro.
Get more out of your furnace with these five tips.
1. Change Your Furnace Filters Regularly
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to make your furnace last longer is by changing the furnace air filters.
The filter keeps dirt, pet hair, and other debris from getting into the furnace blower fan.
If it’s clogged, it decreases the airflow through the unit. Your HVAC unit has to work harder, and it could overheat.
Making your unit work harder can decrease its life. Simply changing the filter eases the strain on the machine and can help it last longer.
How often you change the filters depends largely on the quality of the filters and your home.
If you have a pet or if your house has lots of dust, you’ll need to change the filters more frequently. You may also need to change it more often if you use your HVAC system frequently.
During times of lower use, you may not need to change the filter as frequently. You can also get away with longer gaps between changes if you don’t have pets and your home stays clean.
Get in the habit of checking your filter monthly. You should be able to see light through it if you hold it up to the light. If you can’t due to the dirt, it’s time for a change.
Another way to check is by holding up the old filter to a new filter. That gives you an easy visual to see just how dirty the filter is.
Some filters are reusable. You’ll need to clean them regularly instead of replacing them.
Check your reusable filter on a monthly basis to determine when you need to clean it.
2. Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Another way to put less strain on your HVAC system is by increasing the energy efficiency of your home.
If your home has lots of leaks and is generally difficult to heat and cool, your furnace has to work a lot harder to keep it comfortable. That excess strain on the motor can decrease its life.
Adding insulation to your home is one way to make it more efficient. The insulation keeps the heated air inside the home. The furnace doesn’t need to run as often to maintain your desired temperature.
Another fix is sealing up any gaps or holes in your home. Common spots for those energy-wasting gaps include the foundation, windows, doors, and entry points for cables and pipes.
Your windows are a major potential source of lost energy. About 25% to 30% of the energy used for heating and cooling is due to the heat loss and gain through windows.
If you have old, inefficient windows, consider replacing them with windows with low-e coatings.
3. Keep Your Home Clean
A clean home with clear areas around your furnace and registers helps the unit run more efficiently.
If your furnace is in a storage area, avoid keeping stored items too close to the unit. It’s a safety issue due to the potential for a fire.
It also makes your furnace run less efficiently. Items around the unit block the airflow so it can’t circulate well.
The same issue happens when your heat registers are blocked. The air isn’t able to circulate well through the HVAC system.
The decreased airflow makes the furnace work harder. The extra strain can decrease the life of the furnace motor.
If your home is full of dust, pet hair, and other debris, it clogs up your furnace filter faster. If you don’t change them often enough, it leads to more strain on the system.
4. Inspect the Unit and Schedule Repairs
Your furnace maintenance checklist should include an inspection of the different parts. Always shut off the power before removing the cover from your furnace.
Cleaning the blower helps keep it running efficiently. Inspect the blower parts to make sure everything looks normal.
If you notice any issues with your furnace or if it’s not working as well as normal, contact a heating and cooling company to check it out. Small problems can grow into more complicated problems.
That means more expensive repairs. Sometimes, letting a small issue go without being repaired can result in extensive damage that requires a new furnace.
5. Schedule Professional Maintenance
Even with your own maintenance and inspections, it’s a good idea to have a pro look at your furnace regularly. Schedule at least one professional maintenance call per year. Two appointments, one in the spring and one in the fall, is even better.
A fall maintenance check ensures the unit is ready to keep up with the cold Canadian winters. Toronto averages lows of -7 degrees Celsius in January. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your furnace isn’t working once the temperature starts to drop.
The maintenance check lets a heating and cooling professional check for issues you might miss. This includes leaks, wiring issues, and parts that aren’t performing well.
The pro will look for cracks or corrosion that could lead to carbon monoxide leaks.
If the inspection turns up any issues, the pro explains what needs to be repaired. This lets you make a fully informed decision on potential repairs for your system.
Make Your Furnace Last Longer
Getting the most out of your furnace can save you money in the long run. Doing routine maintenance and taking care of minor issues early helps your machine run more efficiently. It also decreases the strain on the unit so the motor can last longer.
Is your furnace due for a check-up or in need of repairs? Explore our furnace services to see how we can help.