Is your furnace more than 15 years old and still limping along? As long as it is still heating your home and doing so safely, you can try to get it through another winter, waiting to replace it until a later date when you have the cash to do so. However, you will want to take good care of your aging furnace to make sure it's not put under any unnecessary strain in the coming heating season. Here's how to accomplish that goal.
1. Schedule a tune-up.
Contact a local heating repair company, and have them come tune up your furnace. They should lubricate any moving parts, tighten any loose bolts, and make sure nothing dangerous is amiss with the furnace. With everything tightened and lubricated, your furnace is less likely to have a major part, like the blower motor, fail over the winter. Note that your furnace specialist may advise you to replace the furnace if they notice anything is wrong while they're doing the tune up. If this is their advice, tell them that you want to try and make it through one more winter with the furnace. They can tell you whether this is feasible (and safe).
2. Don't keep the home too warm.
Your furnace will have to work a lot harder to keep the home at 78 degrees than to keep it at 68 degrees! Consider sacrificing a few degrees for the sake of your furnace this coming winter. For instance, if you usually keep your home at 70, make 68 the preferred setting this winter. The less your furnace has to work, the longer it will last.
3. Improve your insulation and windows.
You can also ease the burden on your older furnace by lessening the amount of warm air leaking out of your home. Consider adding another layer of insulation in your attic. If there are gaps around wires or pipes that enter the home, seal them with some caulk. Replace the weatherstripping on your windows and doors, too. What you spend on insulation, weatherstripping, and caulk, you will easily save on energy.
4. Keep your filter clean.
If you have a removable furnace filter, make sure you clean it often—once a month or more. If you have disposable filters, switch to a new one monthly. The cleaner the filter, the less energy your furnace must use to drive air through it, so the lower your chances of a furnace breakdown.