What Should Your Forced-Air Heating Service Checklist Include?

Maintenance checklists are an excellent way to avoid costly and unexpected home repair bills. Many parts of your house require routine maintenance, and it's easy to miss a few items here or there and suffer the consequences of deferred maintenance. Checklists provide a way to systematically cover these issues and avoid inadvertently forgetting a critical upkeep task.

If you aren't an expert, then developing a checklist for your home's forced-air system might seem daunting. Fortunately, it's not too challenging to create a list of essential items. This guide will help you understand what you should be doing to maintain your home's heating system to avoid the expensive consequences of ignoring crucial maintenance issues.

The Essentials: Tasks You Can Handle Yourself

You won't want to do everything on your own, but several maintenance tasks are well within the capabilities of even the most reluctant do-it-yourself homeowners. Chief among these is checking and replacing your filter. If you have a central air conditioner, then a single filter covers your heating and cooling systems.

When building your checklist, your filter should be a once-per-month item whenever your HVAC system is in use. You'll typically need to replace your filter every 1-3 months (or up to 12 months for some filter types), but it's a good idea to check it more often. Replace the filter if it seems especially dirty or clogged with obvious debris.

You will also want to remove your vent covers for cleaning at least once per month. Dust the vent covers and vacuum the portion of exposed ductwork when performing this service. This task can improve air quality and, by cleaning your return vents, you can reduce the load on your air filter. Clean your vents and check your filters more often if you smoke or if your family includes pets.

Stepping Up: Tasks That Require a Pro

Once you've finished the do-it-yourself portion of your checklist, it's time to move on to services that (usually) require a professional. For a forced-air heating system, you'll want to clean the combustion chamber and burners along with the blower at least once per year. If you're highly confident in your handyman skills, you can attempt these jobs yourself.

Additionally, your heat exchanger, gas connections, furnace mainboard, and electrical connections all require annual inspections. Put these on your checklist as once-per-year tasks, but leave them to professionals. These critical items can affect the safety and reliability of your furnace, so they're best handled during a routine annual inspection.

By building a furnace service schedule or checklist, you can ensure that your heating system remains ready to keep you warm all winter long. Dividing these tasks between do-it-yourself and professional jobs is the best way to save some money while still guaranteeing that you complete all of your furnace's necessary maintenance tasks. Contact a company that offers heating services to learn more.