Your furnace has worked hard to keep you warm all winter. Now is the time to be sure it’s ready to do the same next year, since a little attention to your heating equipment can produce big savings in the long run. The following tasks are the most important.
Clean or replace your furnace filter. All furnaces should have a filter installed in the return air duct to clean air as it is drawn in from the home. A dirty filter will reduce the airflow through your equipment, and lower its efficiency. It’s hard to say how often to replace your furnace filter, since it varies a lot from home to home, but two to three times per year is typical for most families.
Inspect your duct system for leaks by looking for gaps or feeling for escaping air. Your furnace uses a lot of energy to heat and cool your home’s air, and duct leaks can waste up to 30 percent of this energy before it ever reaches your living space. If you find disconnected ducts or loose joints, seal them up with metal duct tape or with duct mastic. Avoid common gray fabric “duct tape” since it tends to come loose.
Clean your supply grilles or registers. If your registers have adjustable shutters, it’s best to leave them in the full-open position. Clean inside your ducts, too, for as far as you can reach from the register opening. When more air can flow through your furnace, it will operate more efficiently and it won’t need to run as long. This will save both energy and money