ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Simple tips to keep your home heating and furnace working through winter

Updated on May 26, 2014
Make sure your heating is working before winter snows hit
Make sure your heating is working before winter snows hit | Source

When winter hits the last thing you want is a malfunctioning furnace, or worse yet, one that just stops working altogether. The good news is that there are steps you can take to keep your heating system working efficiently and safely this winter.

Jobs you can do to maintain your home furnace and heating

The following list identifies some ways you can help maintain the efficient operation of your home furnace this winter. Take care to turn off the electricity and close the gas valve before you attempt some of these jobs:

  • Vacuum burner and blower cavities to remove dust, and dust the hot surface igniter (taking care not to touch it)
  • Remove dust from the pilot
  • Vacuum blower blades and brush off
  • Check air ducts and seal any leaks
  • Inspect the air filter and change when necessary
  • If you have an oil filter change it regularly to keep fuel flowing into the furnace cleanclean
  • Check any chimneys or outside vents for blockages such as birds nests or leaves
  • If you have a hot water system bleed air from radiators at least once a year. You'll need a special key for this but it will keep radiators working at optimum levels

Home oil furnace
Home oil furnace | Source

Change air filters regularly

Dirty filters cause pressure on your furnace and reduce its lifespan and efficiency and changing the filters is a fairly simple job. Air filters need to be checked and changed regularly, depending on type. During winter months a clogged air filter will reduce air quality in the home. If you have inexpensive fiber glass filters you'll need to change them every month or so, pleated filters will need changing every three months and permanent filters should be rinsed and cleaned every month.

Fall furnace maintenance

Routine maintenance of your furnace in fall should help prevent it dying when it's needed most. Your home furnace maintenance routine should only take a couple of hours and does not need expensive tools or any special skills.

If your furnace has a belt-driven fan you may need to adjust the belt and another job you may need to carry out is adjustment of dampers in ducts.


If your furnace has a pilot light that is continually alight you could save up to 5 percent in gas costs if you turn off the gas to the pilot once the winter season is over. Re-lighting the pilot is generally an easy matter and will be covered in your furnace handbook, or on the instructions provided on the furnace gas valve.

Replace thermostat with a digital and programmable thermostat to save energy and costs.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and is a gas that is often produced by gas, wood or oil burning appliances. This gas has no odor and is colorless, if it should be leaking from your furnace into the home environment in large quantities it could prove fatal. Install carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home and test the batteries regularly to ensure they are working properly. Installation of carbon monoxide alarms could be a lifesaver for your family at any future point.

When to call professional HVAC services

If you cannot sort out problems with your furnace before the onset of winter you'll need to call in professional help. The types of symptoms that need professional HVAC services include:

  • short cycling, where your system only runs for a few minutes at a time and then shuts down
  • irregular flame, burners should have even looking flames, if flames lean to one side or the back and are uneven you should call professional heating experts to look at the furnace
  • soot deposits, this is a sign that combustion is incomplete and shows the furnace may need some major maintenance
  • rumbling noises at odd times, noise isn't usually a problem with hot water or steam systems but there should not be any apparent noise with forced air heating
  • chronic headaches or symptoms similar to 'flu could be a sign of gases leaking from the system. Call a heating professional to check your furnace even if carbon monoxide alarms are not alerting you to the presence of gas in the home.

Resources with guides and photographs

Check out more simple DIY heating and furnace maintenance tips

Check these step by step instructions and photographs on how to do the simple furnace maintenance tasks described above

Energy.GOV provide resources and tips on furnace and heating maintenance

Bleed radiators regularly to maintain heat in the home
Bleed radiators regularly to maintain heat in the home | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)