Spring is the perfect time to think about your furnace. Although you won't be using it anymore for a while, proper maintenance is a must.
Reasons for Spring Maintenance
There are many good reasons to do annual furnace maintenance in spring rather than fall. First and foremost, you don't want the system to sit dirty all summer, as this can lead to caked-on grime, lubrication issues, or even corrosion of inner workings. There won't be a huge call for heating services in spring, so scheduling routine maintenance should be much easier.
Second, major issues can be caught early, long before you need the furnace in working order. This gives you time to plan and budget for repairs or even a furnace replacement. It also means that you can have repairs done over the summer before the huge heating work rush in the fall puts you on your contractor's waitlist.
There are some basic maintenance tasks you can do on your own. The filter is the most obvious. It's important to remove the old filter at the end of the heating season because you don't want to chance mildew or mold growth in the furnace due to moisture trapped in the dust and dander on a dirty filter. It's also a good idea to use a stick duster to clean out any debris inside the filter chamber.
Another simple DIY task that is helpful is to check all the registers and vents to make sure they are operating properly. You may need to lubricate louvered vents so they don't get stuck in an open or closed position. Further, you can use the hose on your vacuum to suck up any dust or debris that has made its way into the vents. This is especially helpful if you have pets.
Many maintenance tasks are best left to the professionals. During an annual maintenance visit, a heating contractor will check all the major parts of the furnace. This includes the electrical system, burner and fuel lines if applicable, and the motor and fan assembly. Minor repairs will be made, everything will be cleaned, and moving parts will be lubricated.
The contractor will also check your thermostat to make sure it is properly calibrated and working as it should. They will make minor adjustments, if necessary. This is also a good time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat if you don't already have one.
Contact a heating contractor in your area for help putting your system to bed for the season.