Furnace maintenance is the last thing most people think about when the weather starts to warm up. After being burrowed inside all winter long, it’s understandable that people want to get out and enjoy springtime weather. If they’re tending to anything, it’s readying the yard for the summer, shopping for their dream grill, planning summer vacation, or figuring out what summer concerts they’d like to attend. If they’re calling an HVAC tech at all, it’s usually to inspect and clean their air conditioner.
But part of your annual spring cleaning could be getting your furnace in shape for next fall or winter.
Regardless of your furnace’s age, make, or model, any HVAC system in your home will feel the brunt of consistently running throughout a long winter. Think of it like putting miles and miles on a car. That car will better withstand the test of time and use if it’s serviced every 3,000 miles. Your furnace is no different and needs regular maintenance.
There are two critical points each year when it’s recommended you “tune-up” your furnace. Pre-fall/winter before there’s any need to turn your heat on and spring as you’re transitioning from furnace use to AC use. Most people service their furnace prior to winter use, which is fine, but many don’t do at all. Even if you’re not calling your HVAC tech for spring servicing, there are still some highly recommended DIY tips. These include:
Checking/Replacing Your Furnace Filter
A furnace filter should be replaced at least every 3 to 4 months if the furnace is running daily. More frequently if you have pets and anyone in the house allergic to dust or dander. To determine whether or not your filter needs to be replaced, check for the following:
• Look for Visible Dirt or a Clog: If you notice visible dirt, debris, and dust, it’s time to change the filter. If debris and dust is minimal, and you won’t be running the unit for a few months, you can wait it out if need be. But why not just replace the filter in the spring? This way you’re starting fresh when it’s time to run your furnace again in the fall and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to change out the filter.
• Check Filter Color: Filters are usually white, cream-colored, or gray. If its color has changed or darkened, you should replace the filter.
• Always Write Replacement Date: Whenever you’re replacing a filter, write the date you’ve installed a new one in permanent marker. This can be done on the exposed cardboard where the size dimensions are. This way you can make sure you’re replacing your filter every 3 to 4 months like you should be.
If you skip doing all of this in the spring, remember that even a minimally used filter should be replaced if it’s been more than 3 months since the furnace has run.
Pressure Wash Outside Condenser/Heat Pump
Spring is the perfect time of year to do this. You want to wait until the weather has warmed up and you’re sure you won’t need to use your furnace again until the fall. This can be a little tricky in Pittsburgh since the temperature here can fluctuate from 75 degrees to 35 degrees in March or April.
Pressure washing this component of your air conditioner will remove the debris, grime, and bits of gravel that tend to build up during a wet, cold, and slushy Pittsburgh winter. This will also remove or breakup accumulated dead leaves that sometimes get caught in the unit. This leaves you with an AC system that’s clean and running efficiently. Cleaning your system this way will also lessen the likelihood of serious more costly damage incurring as a result of neglect.
Don’t Hesitate to Call an HVAC Pro
Have your furnace serviced by an HVAC professional at least once a year. If you do this in the fall, you don’t necessarily have to do it again in the spring, but stick to a yearly schedule that doesn’t get confusing.
One advantage of doing this in the spring is you can rest easy knowing you can turn on your heat with the first chill of autumn. It’s not uncommon to turn on your heat during the first cold snap of October only to discover your furnace isn’t working. Spring furnace maintenance will ensure your system is ready to go come fall/winter. This way you and your family won’t be sitting around in October in multiple layers of clothing, draped in blankets, while you’re waiting for a furnace part to be ordered and installed.
For this same reason, spring is also the perfect time to replace an older furnace with a new unit. Most people need a few days or sometimes weeks to replace a furnace. Getting this out of the way in the spring means you won’t be without heat later in the year when you really need it.
CALL TOPNOTCH HEATING & AIR FOR PITTSBURGH AC & FURNACE INSPECTIONS & CLEANINGS
If you’re in Pittsburgh or one of its many suburbs, don’t hesitate to call TopNotch Heating & Air for annual AC and furnace inspections/cleanings. Coupons for these services can be found on our website and we can be reached at 412-381-0598.