A gas furnace is a complex piece of equipment that can efficiently heat your home through the colder months. Many people take their gas furnace for granted, and they don’t have regular maintenance carried out. Eventually, you may have a gas furnace that will not work correctly and/or it’s not energy efficient. This will result in a gas furnace that needs essential repairs before it can heat your home safely and efficiently. In this article, we will look at seven common gas furnace mistakes that people make and how to avoid them.
- Not Changing the Air Filter
This is first on the list because it’s the most common gas furnace problem and yet it’s one of the most straightforward issues to fix. Many homeowners forget about their air filter, and it may not get changed for long periods. It only takes 1-3 months for a filter to become thoroughly clogged and then the airflow is severely compromised. When the air filter becomes blocked with dirt, lint, and dust, it will make the furnace less energy efficient, and it could even cause it to overheat. This solution is simple, avoid this problem by setting a date and changing the air filter every month.
- Heating an Empty Home
This may seem strange, but some people do run their gas furnace when there is no-one at home. Heating an empty home is a waste of energy, and there are no benefits to using a gas furnace in this way. When the gas furnace is running, it will still be subject to wear and tear. It’s a better idea to install a programmable thermostat, then the furnace can turn on, and the home will be warm when you get in. As an added bonus, your energy bills will be reduced, and your gas furnace will have a longer lifespan.
- Avoiding Regular Maintenance
A gas furnace should be maintained annually before the start of each heating season. Of course, the best time to do this in the early fall before your local heating professional is fully booked up. A poorly maintained system will be less effective at heating your home, it may not be safe to run, and it will be less energy efficient. Avoiding a service may seem to make sound financial sense in the short run, but in the medium, to long term, it could cost far more. When a heating system is well maintained minor issues can be identified and fixed before they develop into more significant problems. A well maintained system may also have a longer lifespan before it needs to be replaced saving you even more money.
- Blocking Air Registers
When furniture is moved around, care should be taken to ensure that any room vents are not blocked. When there is an obstruction in front of a room vent the airflow into that room is blocked. This will cause a spike in air pressure, the heating cannot distribute effectively, and the ventilation system could be damaged. The air blower in your furnace may have to work harder to compensate, and this could lead trip the circuit breaker. Eventually, the air blower could even become damaged and wear out earlier than necessary, leading to a repair or even an entire replacement. Keep the vents clear, and the heating system will work far better, then you can avoid higher energy bills and unnecessary repairs.
- Setting High Temperatures
We all like to stay warm in our homes when the weather outside is colder. Many people set their thermostats far too high, and then they get very high energy bills in return. It could be tempting to crank up the thermostat to 80º, but this will also overwork the furnace, and it could lead to performance issues too. It’s a better idea to choose a more conservative temperature setting that’s comfortable and efficient.
- Delaying a System Replacement
A gas furnace can represent a significant investment, and many people wait too long to replace an aging system. Like any piece of equipment, a gas furnace has a finite lifespan were it’s both effective for heating and energy efficient. An aging furnace will increasingly need to be repaired, and those repair bills will rise over time. The annual costs of running an aging heating system will gradually rise and get to the point where the system is not economically viable to fix. That money has been wasted, and it could be spent more wisely on a newer and far more efficient heating system. A certified heating expert may advise you to change your system during an annual maintenance checkup. Take some time to consider this option, it may seem like an expensive proposition, but it will be a good investment in your future indoor comfort.
- Choosing the Cheapest Gas Furnace
Some people buy a new gas furnace, but they make their choice based purely on getting the lowest price. We all like to save money, but choosing a gas furnace in this way is not a particularly good idea. It’s important to consider how much money you will be spending on the energy costs over the entire lifespan of the heating system. If you choose a high efficiency heating system, it will cost more initially, but it will save you more money in the medium to long term. The old adage “you get what you pay for” also applies here, a better quality heating system will last longer. The longer a system lasts, the later you can wait before it needs replacing and this will also save you a lot of money. Of course, these savings can only be maintained or maximized if the heating system is regularly maintained every fall.
Avoiding these seven common gas furnace mistakes will help you to enjoy a more trouble free heating experience. Any regular maintenance or repair work should always be carried out by a certified professional heating engineer. They will be able to quickly identify any potential problems and advise you on how to fix them.