There is no better feeling than hurrying in to a warm, cozy home during this blistering cold winter. Without a furnace, our houses would be freezing. That is why maintaining and annually inspecting your furnace is important. This will assure that it is in good working condition and will help save you money on heating costs. Some of the inspection and repairs can be done yourself, while others are more complex and require professional services.

Furnace manufacturers recommend a professional inspection to be done annually. Some of the services completed include checking the ventilation system for leaks or blockage, ensuring that the blower access door is sealed, inspecting for rust and corrosion on the heat exchanger and analyzing the combustion gases to compare them with the unit specifications. They may also check the burners, drainage system and the filters. Hiring a professional may seem unnecessary, but most homeowners are not knowledgeable enough to complete all these tasks confidently. In fact, some technicians claim that 75 percent of homes without heat in the winter are due to lack of maintenance.

A few steps of regular maintenance can be done yourself throughout the year to keep the furnace in tip-top condition. Keeping your furnace clean is most essential. Dirt can potentially cause the furnace to overheat and it decreases its efficiency. The three main areas to clean are the motor, the blower and the filter. The filter can easily be inspected by take it out and holding it up to the light to examine it. If it looks clogged you can simply purchase a new filter of the same size and type. A permanent filter, on the other hand, can be sprayed with a chemical to help it stay clean as well. This chemical spray is available at most hardware stores.

Whether you are doing your own assessment or calling in the professionals, servicing your furnace is a key element in preparing for cold temperatures. Checking it can often be overlooked, but it is better to be safe than sorry. You wouldn’t want to have a breakdown in the dead of winter. Regular inspections can be done at home by cleaning the filter, while more complex services will require annual visits from the experts.