The last thing you may be thinking about in spring is your home's furnace, but after a busy winter season your heater needs some timely maintenance. Taking the time to tend to these basic chores in spring, at the end of the heating season, means your system will be ready to fire up with no hassles next fall.
Maintenance Task #1: Change Out the Filter
Don't forget to replace the filter in the furnace when you are turning it off for the final time in spring. This way dust and dirt won't be sitting inside your furnace all summer, which can increase the chances of a musty odor when you turn on the furnace in the fall. If you have a reusable filter, remove it and rinse it out thoroughly. Let it dry before replacing it inside the furnace.
Maintenance Task #2: Perform a Diagnostic Check
This is much simpler than it sounds. Crank on the furnace one last time and check that it is performing well. Are all rooms heating evenly? Is it warming the house to the thermostat setting before it shuts off? Do you smell any odd odors, or hear any noises? Stand near the furnace when it's running and make sure there's no banging, clunking, or other noises that may indicate a problem. Discovering problems in spring gives you all summer to make the repairs, so you won't be rushed or left without heat when the weather turns cold in autumn.
Maintenance Task #3: Close the Vents
Closing off the vents in the spring can prevent dust and debris from settling inside of them over the summer. This in turns means cleaner vents and less stale odors when you fire the system on again in the fall. You can only close the vents if your furnace and AC system use different vents. Furnace vents are typically located on the floor, while AC vents are usually near the ceiling. Most floor vents have a knob you can use to close them, or you can insert a sheet of plastic beneath the vent cover. Just remember to remove it before turning the heating system back on.
Maintenance Task #4: Schedule a Tune-Up
Furnaces should be tuned-up annually. A heating repair technician will make sure the wiring is secure and working properly, check the thermostat and recalibrate it if necessary, and then do an all-over inspection to catch any problems early, before a major repair is necessary. Tune-up services are at a premium in late summer and fall, since everyone is calling to schedule at this time. Take care of it in spring and you won't be put on a long wait list, since fewer people are calling furnace techs at this time of year.