Now winter is finally here, and your furnace has probably become one of the most valuable assets you own for your property. Let’s hope you remembered to have your fall furnace tune-up completed before cranking up the heat. If not, there’s still time to get an inspection to optimize your heating capacity. There are even some quick tricks you can complete yourself.
This is important – especially so if you own a furnace that’s over 3-5 years of age. Any furnace that old is likely to have some inefficiency problems if you don’t provide it with adequate care and maintenance.
Though we always recommend you to have your annual furnace repair completed before each fall, there are certain things homeowners can handle all by themselves before calling in professional help.
But before we delve into some of the useful DIY furnace tips, let’s take a step back and revisit some of the benefits of annual furnace maintenance:
3 Reasons You Should Have an Annual Furnace Tune Up
An inexpensive yearly furnace tune-up guarantees you the following benefits:
1 – Lower Energy Bills
Spending a relatively low amount on maintenance pays off over the course of the entire winter and spring. By regularly cleaning and maintaining your furnace, you empower it to operate with the optimal efficiency. You’ll ensure you can use more heat for less fuel.
The efficiency of your furnace also matters during winter emergencies, such as with ice storms or blizzards. In those cases, you’ll likely be stuck indoors with snow and ice blocking roadways. As your heating fuel depletes, you’ll be unable to get more or go out for a quick fix if something breaks down.
2 – Improved Lifespan
You’re probably well aware of how expensive a new installation furnace can be. So it goes without saying that it’s wise to have your existing unit run smoothly by providing it with regular maintenance. This will improve the lifespan of the unit greatly.
Don’t forget that the internal components of any heating unit are incredibly complicated. Even the slightest of glitch could lead to severe malfunctions if it remains undetected over a period. That’s another reason why you should have your furnace tuned-up each year.
3 – Mitigates Risks of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is the silent killer that can endanger your home if you’re not careful.
Carbon monoxide is a natural byproduct of any incomplete combustion. The fact that it doesn’t possess any color, odor, or taste, makes it hard to detect and, hence, extremely dangerous. All gas furnaces produce a limited amount of carbon monoxide which is harmlessly vented to the outside.
However, dirty or partially damaged furnaces may end up producing more of the chemicals than usual.
Furnace Repair DIY Checklist
At Sig Cox Augusta Heating & Air, we’re here to help you with all your heating and cooling requirements – big or small. Often, however, we come out to service simple things you can handle yourself. Furnace repair involves some technical aspects of the understanding process. But it’s not rocket science! With some research online and a few video tutorials, you can master some of the basics yourself and save yourself some money.
To make things straightforward, we’ve created a quick checklist of some of the essential things you should inspect before picking up the phone and calling for service:
1# Check the Thermostat
You should check your thermostat for a few key issues if the unit is over 3 years old.
Begin the process by ensuring that the thermostat is set to “heat.” Then, monitor the temperature setting to make sure that you have turned the unit to the temperature you want.
Finally, you will want to check if the thermostat is activating the furnace (it should). You can check it by turning the temperature setting down below the current value and then quickly raising it about 6-7 degree above the current temperature. Listen for any noise carefully to make sure that furnace is indeed up and running.
If you think your furnace is not responding the way it should, feel free to call the furnace experts. The cost of repair may vary depending on the extent of damage – but in most cases, it sets you back $110 to $280 (including labor).
2# Make Sure the Power is Working Fine
Almost every furnace system today uses electricity to power itself – even if it is a natural gas furnace. While this may sound obvious, you should always double check that the power switch is turned on before trying anything else.
While you are at it, you should also ensure the circuit breaker is turned on and working. If the furnace shuts off suddenly when you reset the breaks, you need to call a service technician. In that case, you probably have an electrical problem.
If there’s an issue with the blower motor or wiring, it may cost you around $150 for a simple fix and up to $450 for a complete replacement.
3# Replace the Filters
Believe it or not, a considerable chunk of all service call we receive is due to dirty or clogged air filters. You can quickly fix that on your own. But first, you need to be sure that it’s an air filter that’s causing the issue. Here’s what you need to do:
Remove and hold the air filter up to a light. Can you see through it clearly? If you can, you’re in great shape! But if you can’t see through it, you’ll probably have to have it replaced.
Most air filters require replacements after 1 to 2 months of moderate use. Refer the manufacturer’s instructions for the exact type of filter you’re using.
The price of furnace air filters varies depending on the brand. But it should not cost you more than $30 to $40 on average.
4# Make Sure the Pilot Light is Working
All gas furnaces come with a pilot light that is tucked behind a small plate (or door) around the unit’s base. You should always ensure this component is lit or else the furnace won’t have an ignition source to work correctly.
If you find your pilot light is turned off, you can try lighting it using a grill igniter or something similar. If you can’t have it lit up and working, just give us a call, and our service engineers will be on your doorstep within 24 hours.
You might find the furnace is tucked away in an awkward or tight space that you won’t feel comfortable working on with a lighter. Don’t risk an accident with flammable material around you.
Fixing a pilot light malfunction can cost somewhere around $175 to $600 depending on the extent of damage (and the presence of other related issues).
You should also inspect these other issues:
- Check the fuel supply – be it gas or oil. You might just need a refill.
- Monitor diagnostic flash codes, if any
- Make sure there’s no accumulation of ice or frozen pipes
- Beware of faulty panel switches
- Check for problems with condensation drain cut-off switches
With nearly 90 years of experience, Sig Cox Augusta Air Condition Services is the brand you want to trust for all your heating and cooling requirements in Augusta, GA.
Dial (706) 722-5304 today for a free quote today!