During a typical Chicago winter, your home’s heating system is a necessity. Your furnace maintains a comfortable indoor environment, while protecting your household from the extreme outdoor elements. Recognizing the importance of this system, we’ve put together a few tips on how to prepare your home for winter through proper heating maintenance year round.
Schedule Regular Heating Maintenance
Local residents know that temperatures during the peak winter months rarely go above the mid-30s. To prepare your home for these low temperatures, we recommend scheduling annual maintenance of your heating system every fall. Proactive service can prevent costly repairs and untimely breakdowns, lower monthly utility bills, and extend the life of your equipment.
DIYers beware! Your heating system is made up of many intricate parts. Beyond simple vacuuming of external heating vents and grills, leave the service of the unit to the professionals. Burners, heat exchangers, and other internal components of your furnace can be hazardous to the untrained.
Replace Your Air Filters
If comfortable doing so, homeowners can replace their own furnace filters. As the furnace operates, dirt and debris build up in the filter. A dirty filter restricts air flow, forcing the system to work harder, consume more fuel, and create additional carbon dioxide. Pleated and furnace filters should be replaced at least every 3 months. However, the size of the filter should also be taken into consideration; some filters should be replaced every month! To start, check the manufacturer’s recommendations on how often to change your filters.
Set Your Thermostat Correctly
In winter, it is recommended to set your thermostat to around 68 degrees while home. When you’re away, lower your thermostat a few degrees to save on energy. Just how low is an ongoing debate, as opinions can vary from 2 to 10 degrees. The location of your thermostat, the quality of your insulation, unaddressed cracks or leaks, and humidity levels, can all affect room temperature, and ultimately determine the best setting for your thermostat. As a general rule, if you’re looking to lower your energy bill, try to reduce the the gap between the temperature inside and outside. A programmable or smart thermostat is a great purchase to help manage your indoor temperature.
3 Warning Signs of a Malfunctioning Furnace
Just because your furnace turns on does not mean it is operating efficiently. Here are three warning signs that should not be ignored:
- Knocking, rattling, screeching or other loud, unfamiliar sounds
- Frequent cycling and/or cold spots
- Unusual spikes in monthly utility bills
If you suspect your furnace is malfunctioning, call your local HVAC company for an inspection and repair.
Have more questions about your furnace? Check out our FAQs page, or call at (888) 363-5798 for heating service in Chicagoland.