While a new furnace might seem complicated, proper upkeep and maintenance requires only some basic knowledge to ensure your system runs smoothly and without any untimely surprises during the cold months. Knowing the basics about your system can help you take care of your system when it's time to turn it on after months without use, but also how to greater assist any technicians -- and possibly help you save you time and money in the process.
Know Your Fuel Type
Furnaces use multiple fuel types, such as natural gas, oil or propane, or electricity. Systems that use one type of fuel will be designed very differently from systems that use other fuel types -- affecting everything from what maintenance is necessary to how you should use your furnace to optimize energy efficiency -- so knowing how it runs is crucial. For example, a gas-powered furnace makes use of a combustion chamber while electric furnaces use arrays of heating elements, so if you have an electric furnace, tips about cleaning your combustion chamber will not apply. Knowing your fuel type also helps narrow down troubleshooting steps in the event of a problem.
Know Your Warranty
A warranty for a heating system can have a lot of different details, but it's important to know most of them so that you know exactly what to do in case of a technical issue. The main things to be aware of are:
- What is covered, and for how long. Different parts are often covered for different lengths of time, so while a heat exchanger might be covered for 20 years, the other parts may not.
- What voids your warranty. This is especially important if you want to try any DIY maintenance or problem solving, but some warranties can be voided by simply not scheduling regular maintenance.
- What was covered for the installation of your furnace. If a problem arises due to something that went wrong during installation, it might be covered under the terms of your warranty, so you won't need to pay out of pocket to fix a brand new system.
Know How To Zone
A common complaint with home heating systems is that they leave some rooms too hot, while others are too cold. While you can technically turn your furnace on and leave it alone, you can have much greater control over the temperatures of every room in your house with very little effort.
One thing you can do is make use of the vents in each room. If you don't already have vents that can be opened or closed, install new ones that have these options. This way, if a room is too hot, you can close the vents slightly to reduce hot air flow. Likewise, in cooler rooms, you can open the vents all the way for maximum heat flow. If you want to go even farther, install battery powered "smart vents" that connect to a central hub, and that can be used from your smartphone. These open and close automatically depending on the temperature, and you can even set individual temperatures for each room.
An alternative is to set up an actual zoned system where multiple thermostats are set up in different areas of your home. This achieves largely the same effect, but is designed differently. If you already have a zoned system, make sure you know how it works; the contractor installing your system can help.
For more information, contact businesses like Laroc Refrigeration-Metal Division.