Basic Steps to Increase Furnace Efficiency and Longevity
All mechanical equipment requires a certain amount of care to run efficiently and durably, and furnaces are no different. Although it runs effortlessly, it does require a certain level of care to not only keep energy costs reasonable, but to prolong its lifetime. Most furnaces last from 13 to 20 years.
Those that receive annual maintenance from a licensed HVAC contractor and regular air filter changes have a better chance at reaching and exceeding the industry’s expectations.
Air Filter Condition
Nothing has a more profound and lasting effect on the life of a furnace than an air filter. Running the system with a dirty filter starves it for air, since the dirt on the filter slows the airflow through the air handler. Parts stay warmer than they should be and the extra dust entering the blower compartment covers them, keeping them even warmer.
Should the heat exchanger become covered with dust, it will hold too much heat. Over time, the metal from which it’s made can crack and emit carbon monoxide (CO) into the air. It’s illegal and dangerous to use a heating system with a cracked heat exchanger, and the law requires repair or a system replacement.
Low airflow through the blower also increases the amount of time it will take the furnace to heat the home, which drives up energy costs and adds wear and tear to the system.
Licensed HVAC professionals go through furnaces carefully, looking for signs of excessive wear and dust accumulations. After cleaning and a thorough inspection, they calibrate each part. The technician will check the condition of the fan belt and replace it if necessary. Cleaning the fan blades helps the system run smoothly and keeps it balanced.
Lubricating the motor helps it run cooler and with less internal friction. Clean electrical components operate more efficiently and safely. Dust or corrosion on these parts slows the flow of electricity through them, which increases energy costs and shortens their lifetimes. The technician will also assess the quality of the flame and adjust the fuel to air mixture so that the system runs cleaner.
All the dust and debris inside the ductwork can make its way back to the air handler where it doesn’t belong. If there are obstructions in the ductwork, they may slow the airflow to or from the air handler. The unbalanced airflow and extra dirt harm the entire system.
Although the list of required maintenance sounds detailed and complicated, all it requires is routine filter checks and changes and annual servicing from a qualified HVAC contractor.