Getting the Most Out of Your Furnace This Winter

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There’s nothing better than turning up the heat on a freezing cold day. When daylight is all but gone at 5 pm and a blanket of snow is covering everything outside, having a good furnace in your home is an absolute life-saver.

Furnaces don’t just stay in tip-top condition all on their own, though. If you want to get the most out of your furnace and keep it running for years, you need to make sure it’s properly maintained and operated. Here are some of the best things you can do to keep your furnace running like a champ.

Getting the Most Out of Your Furnace This Winter

Operating It Properly

While maintenance will do the most for the lifespan of your furnace, proper operation is also important. Many people abuse their furnaces, cranking the heat up to 80 degrees when they’re cold and promptly turning it down to 65 degrees when it gets too warm inside. The truth is, this is actually bad for your furnace and your energy bill.

If you want to put minimal load on your furnace, make sure your thermostat is set to one constant, comfortable temperature. This will keep your furnace from kicking on and off constantly and will help maintain one consistent temperature in all the room in your house.

You can also run a fan or two to help move warm air around the house. Your furnace is always going to put out a lot of heat, but adding a fan will help spread that heat around your home, preventing your furnace from working too hard.

If some parts of your home are too warm with your current thermostat setting, consider finding other ways to reduce the temperature. Covering the window with blinds or curtains or adding a fan is one great way to drop the temperature in one specific area of the house.


As is the case with many things in life, the best way to ensure your furnace is working at full capacity is to maintain it properly. There are a number of maintenance steps you should take with your furnace, many of which are simple enough to tackle at home. However, you will have to deal with shutting off the furnace and working on it a little bit, so you may want to enlist professional heating services to check out your furnace instead.

The first and easiest maintenance step you should perform is replacing your furnace filter. Furnace filters are reasonably inexpensive and can be changed in minutes. Simply remove the filter while taking note of the airflow arrow on top—this is the direction the next filter will need to be placed in, too. You should replace your furnace filter each month to make sure indoor air quality is good and air is flowing through the filter.

You should also clean various parts of the furnace, since dirt is often the main culprit when it comes to a malfunctioning furnace. The blower can be removed and cleaned using simple tools, while the blower cavities can simply be vacuumed out. The blower blades can also be cleaned, as can the pilot, the flame sensor and the hot surface ignitor. You should also check the drive belt, check for leaks, and lubricate bearings.

Before performing any of these tasks, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to turn the furnace off. If you’re not comfortable working on your furnace yourself, you can always call a professional.

No matter how you choose to go about it, proper furnace maintenance is crucial. Keep the various parts of your furnace clean and make sure to operate it properly and you’ll reap the benefits of powerful heating for years to come.

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Tags: home repair, rural lifestyle
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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