When the Michigan winter arrives, the freezing temperatures will surely arrive with it. When the weather is at its coldest, you’ll surely need your furnace to be running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of uncomfortable days and some costly monthly electricity bills. If you don’t prepare your heating system for increased usage, you could easily end up overworking the appliance. That could lead to its overall performance suffering, and if you’re unlucky, your furnace may malfunction or break down. However, if you’re proactive about getting your heating unit ready for the winter, it should be able to serve you well when you need it the most.
Schedule a Professional Tune-Up
If you want to keep your furnace in tip-top shape for the long haul, scheduling yearly maintenance is one of the most important things you can do. Over time, your heating system naturally accumulates wear and tear, which can eventually lead to components becoming worn out or damaged. After a while, the appliance’s gradual deterioration will start to affect its performance, energy efficiency, and overall health. However, if you keep up with scheduled tune-ups every year, you can counteract that process and give your furnace a longer lifespan.
At Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, our technicians are always available to provide furnace maintenance for residents of the Western Michigan region. When you hire our team for a tune-up, we’ll clean out your heating unit and conduct a thorough inspection. This will include examining the system’s many components and checking to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. We’ll also be looking for any warning signs of potential future problems. If we find anything concerning, we can nip it in the bud before it turns into a serious issue that costs you a fortune. After the tune-up is finished, your furnace will be running at peak performance and efficiency throughout the winter, allowing you to stay comfortable, save money, and enjoy complete peace of mind.
Replace the Air Filter
Another important part of furnace maintenance is regularly replacing the air filter. Whenever your heater is running, the system’s air filter is screening contaminants from the air as they enter the intake vent. This includes things like dust, pollen, pet dander, and various other particles. The filter keeps your air quality clean, which in turn keeps your furnace running smoothly. However, your furnace’s air filter can only hold so many contaminants before it becomes dirty and clogged. When that happens, the blocked filter screen can start to restrict the heating unit’s airflow and put extra strain on the equipment.
To ensure that your furnace is able to do its job effectively throughout the Michigan winter, you’d be wise to switch out the dirty air filter for a new one on a regular basis. Doing so will improve your comfort, reduce the chances of a mechanical problem with your heating system, and help you save money on energy bills. Ideally, you should monitor the condition of the air filters every 1-3 months and replace them whenever they become dirty.
Check and Clean Your Air Vents
For your furnace to stay healthy and provide excellent results throughout the winter, it will need the air vents around your home to be clean and unobstructed. If those vents are blocked or packed with dust, dirt, and debris, your heating system will have a lot of trouble effectively circulating warm air. That can lead to uneven temperatures around your home, expensive energy bills, and mechanical problems for the furnace.
Before the freezing Michigan winter kicks into full gear, it’s wise to check each of your home’s air vents and clean them. First, you’ll want to verify that there’s no furniture or clutter blocking the space in front of any of the vents. Then, using a screwdriver, you’ll want to remove the cover panel from each vent. After the panel is removed, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a hose extension to thoroughly clean out the interior of each vent. If possible, you should try to make this a regular chore every month or two to keep your home as comfortable and efficient as possible.
Have Your Ductwork Cleaned
The start of winter is an excellent time to have your home’s ductwork professionally cleaned. The air ducts serve as pathways for your furnace to distribute warm air around your living space. However, those pathways tend to get dirty over time, often becoming filled with dust, dirt, mold spores and other contaminants. The dirtier the air ducts get, the harder your heating system has to work to push air through consistently. That means that dirty ductwork can lead directly to decreased comfort, higher heating costs, and even furnace malfunctions and breakdowns. Dirty ducts will also affect your indoor air quality.
Fortunately, you can hire local professionals to thoroughly clean the contaminants from your air ducts. While they’re doing the job, they can inspect the ductwork for any leaks or holes, which can also be very detrimental to the health and performance of your furnace. Ideally, you should have your air ducts professionally cleaned every couple of years. Iif you’re overdue, it’s a great idea to get it done before the freezing Michigan winter arrives.
Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks around your household can be extremely detrimental to your furnace’s performance and to your family’s health during the chilly winter months. When your heater is running, those leaks will allow significant amounts of warm air to escape. As a result, the appliance will need to work much harder to keep your home comfortable. That will result in wasted energy and unnecessary wear and tear being added to the equipment. You’ll need to spend more money on electricity bills, and you may even end up needing to pay for costly furnace repairs.
Before the temperature outside starts dropping, you’d be wise to search for any air leaks in your home and thoroughly seal them. The best places to check for these openings are around the edges of windows and doorways. Even if they’re extremely small, they can still have negative effects on your furnace. If you’re having trouble finding the leaks visually, it sometimes helps to feel around slowly with your hands for any air movement indicating a gap. The flickering flame of a candle can also help to detect drafts. When you find leaks, you should be able to close them with weather stripping and caulking, which you can purchase from your local hardware store. Alternatively, you may be able to enlist the services of leak-sealing professionals in your area to search for and repair any leaks around your household.
Since 1961, we at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling have been proudly serving residents of the Portage, Three Rivers, and Grand Rapids, MI areas. Because of our personal touch and commitment to our customers, we’ve become one of the most trusted heating and cooling companies in the region. Our expert team offers high-quality heating, cooling, air quality and geothermal services. Give us a call at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.