2 Ways You Could Accidentally Kill Your Furnace This Winter
April 24, 2023
We know you’re not trying to kill your furnace, but you could be doing things that could kill it off long before its time. Here’s what to avoid.
Suffocating your furnace
Furnaces, like people, can suffocate when you restrict air from going in or out of them.
You can accidentally suffocate your furnace by:
- Closing air vents
- Not changing the filter
And when you do either of these things, it can lead to these problems:
Blower motor burnout – The furnace blower pulls air into the furnace and blows it out of your home’s supply vents. But a dirty filter restricts the air coming into the blower and closed vents can make it more difficult for the blower to send the heated air into back into your home. Both of these problems create more work for your blower motor, causing it to burn out.
Heat exchanger failure – Your furnace heats air by blowing it over the heat exchanger. But if you have a dirty filter or restricted vents, you lower airflow over the heat exchanger, causing it to overheat and possibly crack. Besides being an expensive fix, a cracked heat exchanger can allow deadly carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into your home.
Neglecting your furnace
The most common causes of neglect that lead to furnace breakdowns are:
- Running the furnace without a filter
- Skipping routine furnace maintenance
Running your furnace without a filter is silly. Filters are cheap. And they keep your furnace from getting full of dirt, causing problems like:
- Blower motor issues
- Malfunctioning sensors, which can shut your furnace down even if there’s nothing wrong
Skipping your furnace’s regular maintenance visit is also unwise. And that’s not just us talking. Maintenance is recommended by your furnace manufacturer, the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR and local utility companies.
Ignoring your maintenance visit can lead to:
Blower repairs – Blowers need to be regularly cleaned and oiled to continue to run efficiently (especially if you’ve run your furnace without a filter).
Ignition issues – Your igniter or pilot light can malfunction if there’s dirt buildup on it.
CO poisoning – A cracked heat exchanger can leak dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. With an annual inspection from a qualified technician you can rest easy knowing your furnace is operating safely.
Water damage – If you have a condensing furnace, the condensate drain can back up and cause water damage in your home.
Voided warranty – And if your furnace is newer, not getting regular maintenance can actually void your furnace warranty.
Prevent accidental furnace death
To keep from accidentally killing your furnace, just follow these 3 steps:
- Keep all air vents open and clear of obstructions
- Check your air filter monthly and change it when it’s visibly dirty
- Always ensure your furnace runs with a filter securely in place
Last Updated: February 22, 2024