Preparing for the brutal cold of Nebraska winters means keeping your furnace at maximum capacity. You need optimal performance from your HVAC system to stay warm and comfortable. Without efficient operation, your furnace could cost you loads of money when the utility bill comes. It can also leave you shivering. For optimized heating, there are some steps you can take. Let’s talk about things you can do that will keep your home warm without breaking the bank this winter.

Regular Maintenance Tune-Ups

Your HVAC system runs hard and requires routine maintenance and tune-ups to continue smooth operation. Call your professional HVAC technician and schedule this maintenance at least once each year. There are many steps on the annual maintenance checklist to ensure that your furnace is ready to go each winter. Take a look below at some of the most common maintenance tasks your HVAC technician will perform during this yearly appointment.

Inspect Mechanical Components

Your HVAC technician will inspect all the mechanical components inside your furnace. The technician is looking for signs of wear and tear or other damage that could cause your furnace to work less efficiently. Any parts not at full functioning will be repaired or replaced. Damaged parts could lead to failure of your system soon. Worn parts may also cause your furnace to work harder to produce heat, which will increase the energy used.

Lubricate Moving Parts

The moving parts of your furnace create friction, which can lead to premature wear if not lubricated. Your HVAC technician will lubricate the necessary parts to reduce friction and prolong the lifespan of your furnace and its parts. Without proper lubrication, these moving parts may fail prematurely, leaving you with hefty repair costs, a less efficient furnace, and higher utility bills.

Change the Air Filter

Most furnaces have an air filter that helps keep dust, debris, and allergens out of the unit. This filter also helps keep your indoor air healthier and safer. In most circumstances, you should change or clean the filter every two to three months. If the filter is left unchanged, it may clog. When the air filter clogs, your furnace has to work harder to force air out. Your furnace will also take on more dust and dirt, which could lead to damage over time. During maintenance, the technician will check and clean the filter.

Inspect Electric and Gas Connections

Your furnace runs off electricity and sometimes gas. The technician will check all the electrical and gas connections that lead to and from your furnace to ensure they are securely connected and not damaged. Damaged or faulty connections could lead to safety issues such as shock, fire, or explosion. They may also cause your furnace to work less efficiently.

Calibrate the Thermostat

You may notice that your home doesn’t seem as warm as it should. If your furnace appears to be running properly, you may have a problem with your thermostat. During your maintenance appointment, the technician will check your thermostat for correct readings. It may need to be adjusted if the thermostat doesn’t match the room’s temperature. The technician will calibrate the thermostat so that you can set your heat to a comfortable temperature that matches your home’s climate.

Air Duct Maintenance and Repair

Warm air from your furnace spreads to the vents in each room through the air ducts in your HVAC system. If you have problems with inefficient or uneven heating, you could have a blockage in your ducts.

At John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical, we offer duct inspection, cleaning, and repair. Our technicians can inspect the interior of the ducts to see if any foreign material is causing a clog in the system. They will also search for loose connections or cracks where air could leak in or out. If there are cracks or holes, moisture can seep into the ducts and form mold. Insects and rodents can also infiltrate the ductwork. Both scenarios seriously compromise indoor air quality.

Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

Programming your thermostat can dramatically lower your winter heating bills. Set the temperature a few degrees lower during the day when the house is empty and at night when you sleep. You can set the thermostat to change back to a more comfortable temperature when you wake. Using a programmable thermostat allows you to control your home’s climate more easily without forgetting.

Consider Zone Heating

Zone heating allows you to heat separate areas of the house using different thermostats. With zone heating, you still use a single central furnace but can adjust the zones individually. Zone heating is a good option for larger homes. Some people opt for thermostats on each level of the house. You may also opt to heat certain rooms separately. This type of heating is beneficial when you have areas that aren’t used as often and require less heat.

Use Your Ceiling Fans

Warm air rises toward the ceiling. In the winter, you can use your ceiling fan to move that air around for better circulation. Set the ceiling fans in your home in a clockwise direction in winter. Keep the fan on the low setting to avoid a chill from the air movement.

Seal Drafty Doors and Windows

Some doors and windows may let cold air into your house through cracks. This is often true of older homes. Seal off your drafty doors and windows using plastic or weather stripping. This will help reduce the amount of cold outside air that comes in and make rooms easier to keep warm.

Bundle Up

One of the best ways to stay comfortable while lowering the temperature on your thermostat is to bundle up in extra layers. Rely on blankets for warmth. Wear a sweater, long underwear, or fuzzy socks for extra warmth. Snuggle with your family as you lounge on the couch. You could lower the energy consumption of your furnace and save money on your utility bill while utilizing items you already own.

Utilize the Sunlight

The sunlight can be your friend in the winter, even if the temperatures outside feel arctic. Open your blinds or curtains in the morning on sunny days and let the sun provide a little added warmth. You might be surprised how much of a difference sunlight can make in keeping your home warm during the day. Just remember to close the shades when the sun goes down to shield your home from the cold on the window glass.

Don’t be left out in the cold this winter. Keep your furnace running efficiently and lower your heating costs this winter. Call your trusted HVAC crew at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical for annual maintenance. In addition to heating and cooling, we pride ourselves on being the top plumbing, electrical, duct cleaning, and air quality experts.

Ready to prepare for the coming cold in the Lincoln and Omaha areas? Call John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical today and optimize the performance of your HVAC system before it’s too late.

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