How to Check and Maintain Your Heating System

Your furnace and heating system requires regular maintenance to ensure everything is running efficiently and safely. The last thing you want is for your furnace to break down in the dead of winter. Just like caring for anything mechanical, treating your heating system with regular maintenance will increase its life, reduce the risk of requiring major repairs or untimely furnace replacement and will keep you toasty warm all winter long.


  1. 1
    Check and replace your furnace filter. A clogged furnace filter will no longer filter the air supply and will greatly reduce the efficiency of your furnace. Your furnace filter should be checked regularly to make sure it’s not blocked.
  2. 2
    Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, rust or other damage. A crack in the heat exchanger can cause a burner or pilot light to be blown out, which will result in a no-heat situation. A larger crack could upset a steady flame in the furnace or cause the burner flames to flicker out of the burner opening. In a worst case scenario, it could cause a fire.
    • If you suspect a crack, have it replaced.
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    Check the venting system for leaks, holes and blockages. Check the furnace ducts for any disconnected or crushed sections. Inspect the entire length of the duct work for seal leaks and repair them with a duct mastic sealant. If you’re not sure how to access the ducts, or make these repairs yourself, contact a heating and cooling contractor.
    • The vents could be blocked by improperly installed duct work insulation that has gotten in, blown pieces of your old furnace filter or other debris. If it's not cleared, it could impact the heating's efficiency or cause a room to not heat up at all. Having a heating contractor conduct a full duct cleaning every fall will ensure there are no clogged vents and that the heating system is running at maximum efficiency.
  4. 4
    Inspect the burners for damage or to see if they need to be cleaned. If the burners look dirty and are not firing up in proper sequence, they probably need to be cleaned out. You can clean the burners using a vacuum or toothbrush.
  5. 5
    Make sure that all of the heating vents are open and unblocked. Remove furniture or other items from around your heating vents to ensure evenly distributed airflow. Clean and remove dust from vents or along baseboard heaters.
  6. 6
    Upgrade your heating system. If you’re still running a 1970’s gas furnace, you can be losing some serious energy. Modern high efficiency gas furnaces can achieve efficiency ratings as high as 97 percent. Replacing your old furnace could literally cut your natural gas use in half and result in great savings each winter. Besides the energy savings, a new furnace will ensure your family's safety and eliminate the need for costly furnace repairs.


  • If you are unsure about tackling a furnace inspection yourself, consider contacting a professional heating and cooling specialist. They will give your entire heating system a professional inspection, offer suggestions for a furnace tune up and complete any required repairs. Items on their inspection check list could include: Inspect and clean fan and filter assembly; inspect, adjust and clean pilot light and ignition systems; inspect heat exchanger and test for cracks or damage; check electrical wiring and controls including thermostat controls; inspect the venting system.

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Categories: Electrical Maintenance