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Furnaces can be intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take an active role in keeping yours well maintained. Knowing when to fix a problem yourself and when to call in the professionals is key. Here’s a guide to some common furnace problems you can fix on your own, and some more complicated issues best left to the experts.

Air Filter Replacement

Furnaces rely on air filters to keep dust and other contaminants out of essential components. When filters get dirty, it becomes harder for the furnace to keep up adequate airflow, lowering its energy efficiency and raising your heating bills. That’s why experts recommend changing your air filters at least once every three months. High-efficiency pleated filters with electrostatic charges are your best option. Look at your instruction manual for proper replacement techniques.

Cleaning Your Air Vents

Air vents allow hot or cold air from your HVAC system to reach all areas of your home. When they’re blocked up with dust or other debris, it can keep your system from running at peak efficiency. Be sure to dust and vacuum in and around your air vents at least once a month. If you notice mold around the vents during your cleaning and inspection, call a professional to have your ductwork checked for mold or other contaminants.

Checking Your Thermostat

Far too many homeowners have called a technician in the winter only to find that their thermostat was set to “cool.” That’s why it’s always best to check your thermostat before assuming that your furnace has a problem. You’ll want to check if the temperature is set properly, whether your model has a fresh set of batteries, and if a programmable model is displaying the right date and time. If there is something wrong with your thermostat and you can’t fix it with new batteries or a few button presses, you’ll want to have an HVAC repair technician help you out.

Problems Best Left to the Professionals

Even the handiest homeowners can’t solve every HVAC problem. If you find that you can’t troubleshoot a furnace problem on your own, don’t hesitate to call an expert. This is especially important for problems and routine maintenance inside your HVAC unit, such as issues with blowers, gas supply valves, and burners. Of course, if you ever suspect a gas leak, call your gas provider or a qualified HVAC technician immediately.

If you’d like to learn more about furnace maintenance, get some answers to frequently asked questions.

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