A furnace comes standard in any home, but it’s easy to forget to check the quality of a furnace before the heating season arrives. That’s why Clark Public Utilities recommends people check their furnace now before it’s too late.
“If people haven’t turned on their furnaces yet, they’re going to soon,” said Dameon Pesanti, media specialist for Clark County PUD. “Just like if you’d get your car checked out before going on a long road trip, it’s best to make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape before you’re going to rely on it heavily.”
Pesanti said people who are comfortable with a little dust and the use of a screwdriver can do it themselves. He said YouTube walkthroughs are a great educational tool. Finding the model of the furnace is the best way to find a guide to fix it, or people can check their service manual if they have one. In most cases, Pesanti said, it’s best to have a professional, especially an HVAC contractor, inspect the furnace so the homeowner can avoid any damages. What he recommends most is to replace the furnace or heat pump’s filter, which is the most common thing people forget to do.
While a car will show a check engine light when maintenance is required, a furnace doesn’t have that, which is why Pesanti urges homeowners to be vigilant in checking theirs as often as needed. People in older houses, ones in dusty areas, or homes with pets should replace their filter more often than many people may assume.
“The thickness and type of filter really matters,” Pesanti said. “A really common one is the 1-inch thick filter, which needs to be replaced monthly. The bigger ones, the 4- to 5-inch thick filters, can go up to six months before needing to be replaced. But of course, it’s all subjective and depends on the environment and type of house you live in.”
Pesanti recommends getting a filter with a high MERV, or maximum efficiency reporting value, rating.
The MERV rating shows the filtration power of the filter. The higher the rating, the more particles the filter will catch.
For those looking for a new furnace, Pesanti said a ductless heat pump is a worthy investment. They extract heat out of the ambient air outdoors and transfer it inside using the power of chemistry and thermodynamics. The furnace uses electricity and a fan to run the pumps to heat a home. It also saves energy and money in the long run.
Furnaces, on the other hand, use a lot more energy to heat up coils and blow air into the home, Pesanti said. Not only can a heat pump heat a home, but it can also cool it like an air conditioner. But fixing a heat pump is more complicated than a furnace, so a professional’s input is crucial for maintenance.
Pesanti also stresses the importance of having a professional regularly check a home’s system, because like a good mechanic, they’ll be able to detect any problems or issues that aren’t readily apparent.
When things are not working right, Pesanti said, it will cost more to heat a home.
Many service contractors offer good rates if a person signs up for periodic checks for a furnace.