It has been cold around here lately. Bone chilling, jaw-chattering, nose-running COLD. Dreaming of beaches cold, 10 pairs of socks cold…. Anyone agree? I do not envy you students who have to be out in this crazy weather!
Not only is this crazy cold hard on us, it can be hard on your furnace as well! (The very piece of equipment that stands between you and the bitter cold). Today is all about best practices to maintain your furnace; kind of an Ode to Furnaces Day. Let’s take a moment and celebrate the wonderful function of the furnace. We will go over how to keep warm and keep money in your pocket this season.
There are three parts of furnace function that are extremely important to understand and implement: temperature setting, proper furnace filter maintenance and being cautious of air flow. We will look at each of these three and set you up to keep your furnace running like a dream for the remainder of this cold snap…and beyond.
First, let’s talk about proper temperature settings. We’ve all had a roommate who insists on turning the thermostat down to just above freezing when no one is home and then turning it up to boiling when everyone is home. Have you ever experimented with how that effects your electric or gas bill? Let’s just say…it is not helpful. Set your thermostat at a temperature that you can live with and leave it. “Set it and forget it”, anyone?
In our lease agreement, we require that residents maintain their heat at 65 degrees or higher to ensure that pipes don’t freeze and burst or that the cold doesn’t cause any other damage to the apartment. Failure to comply can result in more than just damage, but puts you in direct violation of your lease agreement. So, not only is it not best practice in terms of utility usage, turning the heat on and off or up and down can be dangerous.
Next, let’s consider furnace filter maintenance. Properly maintaining your furnace filter is critical to ensure proper heating and cooling of your apartment but also is important in its relation to utility cost. The furnace filter catches and collects particles as the air moves through the furnace. The filter should be changed a minimum of once every three months, however, most professionals encouraging changing your furnace filter every month. (On a visible part of the filter, write the date that you install the new filter). The process is easy, really. Check out this video to see how easy changing your furnace filter really is.
Finally, let’s talk about air intake into the furnace. The furnace setup in many apartments typically has the furnace in a closet that has some sort of airflow allowance in the door. This allows air to be sucked into the furnace. It is crucial that you don’t store things in this closet in such a way that could impede the air flow into the furnace. Try to keep bulky items elsewhere.
There you have it. You are totally capable of that, right? I believe in you! Until a heat wave hits West Lafayette (or you board a plane headed for your Spring Break destination of choice) maintain your furnace well – keep money in your pocket and keep your apartment warm. When did you last change your furnace filter? There is no day like today….
Note: These practices apply to cooling your apartment as well. So when you can’t stop sweating and are praying for winter (will that every really happen?) remember these principles!