There are plenty of steps that you can take, to make your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, but many of the most effective are also the simplest. In fact, one of the best things you can do to cut down on your energy usage is to simply make sure that your heating and cooling systems are properly serviced and maintained. Even if nothing seems to be wrong, regular inspections and maintenance visits can help to discover any hidden problems and address them before they get out of control.
When scheduling a check-up for your heating system, the technician will inspect a number of items throughout your house. What follows is a short list of the most common items that are inspected, but some heating technicians will prefer to perform an even more thorough examination.
The Furnace Filter
Your furnace's filter should actually be replaced several times per year, but any inspection of your heating system will include a check of the filter. If It is too clogged or dirty, then the technician will replace it. More importantly, they will be able to advise you on a proper replacement schedule and even suggest alternative filters, if the ones that you are using seem to be getting dirty too quickly or doing a poor job of filtering contaminants.
Although it seems simple, your furnace's filter is one of its most important elements. A clogged filter restricts airflow and can cause the entire system to run inefficiently, using more energy and costing you more money. It can even result in the furnace itself overheating and shutting down.
Your Ductwork and Vents
It's rare for major problems to develop in a home's ducts, but your technician will do a routine check to make sure that there are no obstructions or leaks. Both of these problems can have a major effect on the energy efficiency of the system, so it is important to deal with them as soon as they are discovered.
The Furnace Itself
There are a number of trouble spots that can show up, within the furnace itself, including problems with the igniter and cracks in the heat exchanger. These can range from expensive to dangerous, so discovering them early is important. Your technician will perform a thorough examination of these parts and check, to make sure that burner is functioning properly and not leaving any unburnt gas.
The furnace inspection will also include tests of the blower motor and some basic maintenance, such as lubrication of various moving parts. This will help to keep your furnace running properly and efficiently, and hopefully minimize the likelihood of any additional problems developing in the future.
Finally, the inspection will include a check of each thermostat in your home for proper operation. While thermostats are simple devices, a thermostat that is not operating properly can cause your system to function poorly in a variety of ways. In the worst-case scenario, it may simply stop the furnace from running at all. Faulty thermostats can also cause the furnace to run long after the target temperature has been achieved, making your house far too warm and wasting huge amount of energy. While inspecting the thermostats, the technician will also likely advise you on the most efficient way to set it for your home's particular configuration.
You should plan to have your heating system checked at least once a year. The small amount that you spend will help to reduce your repair and energy costs in the future.