The season is changing. At my house, on any given day, I could go from feeling my heat kick on in the morning and find my air conditioning on when I get home from work. Both systems are getting to work, and both systems need to be maintained. Your air conditioning just had a hard summer of work and your furnace is just about to start up its hard season.
So, what should you do?
1. Change your filters.
Air filters filter out airborne particles from entering the system and clogging it. Dirty filters cause the furnace to run less efficiently. There is a pressure drop, which leads to low air flow. The system needs to work harder to function. Any system that needs to work harder than necessary will burn out quicker. Changing filters will keep the system working efficiently.
2. Test for Carbon Monoxide
When you are doing your winter preparation maintenance, you should complete a carbon dioxide test. Anything above 15pmm is dangerous. However, many CO detectors don't even register that low. Carbon Dioxide can cause SIDS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ADD, loss of hearing, loss of sight, loss of speech, kidney disease, respiratory disease, heart disease, and other illnesses just from a small amount of carbon dioxide. 15pmm is the first level that can cause illness in people, and 30pmm effects most people.
3. Clean Blower
A dirty blower can reduce the blower assembly air flow rate and increases heating and cooling costs. It can also cause operating failures. Inspectapedia measured that the difference in air flow and found a 50% or higher improvement in air flow in the blower unit when dirt is cleaned from the blower fan assembly. It doesn't take much dust or debris to fill the curves of the fan blades.
4. Check Gas Pressure
Improper gas pressure that is too high can cause the unit to overheat. Gas pressure that is too low can cause lockouts on the flame sensor. On the inlet side, too much gas pressure can cause gas valve failures. Too little inlet pressure can cause sooting in the heat exchanger.
5. Clean and Balance Fan
If your filter is dirty or not installed, it can reduce your airflow. With a reduced airflow, energy efficiency is reduced and cost goes up.
6. Check Bearings
A furnace blower motor has bearings that will eventually wear down. Each fall, you should have your bearings checked to see if they need replaced.
7. Duct Cleaning
The EPA recommends cleaning ducts if there is mold or excessive dust/debris in the system. However, unless your ducts are clogged, had mold, or vermin, they do not need to be cleaned routinely.
8. Clean coil in Air Conditioning
The AC coil should be cleaned at least once every six months. A good rule of thumb is to to do in the spring, in preparation for the summer heat and fall, in preparation for the AC shut down for winter.