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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Furnace

As long as it continues working properly and helps keep our home and family warm throughout the cold winter months here in Olathe, most of us probably don't give our furnace a lot of thought. But there are some pretty interesting facts about that strange object in your basement that you may not be aware of, and your favorite Olathe heating and cooling company has dug up a few of them…

Your Furnace Has an Interesting History

Back in 1885, when the first riveted steel coal furnace was built, many homes were still heated with pot-belly stoves, which also served as the cook stove for the household. Unfortunately, while being able to cook on your heater provides a handy bonus, pot-belly stoves weren't good for heating much more than the one room in which they stood. The invention of the coal-fired furnace allowed homeowners to heat every room in the house, whether through vents or radiators.

Once the coal-fired furnace was introduced, it wasn't long until most homes in America had an octopus in the basement that was fed through a chute. Because these early furnaces didn't have blowers, they relied on a bunch of octopus-like arms to deliver heat to all the different rooms of the house. Eventually, these "octopus furnaces" would give way to oil furnaces, and then to the electric or gas furnaces that we're familiar with today. 

Furnace Size Matters

Your furnace is more than just a box that delivers hot air. Every part of it has been constructed specifically to produce the heat that your home needs, in the ratios that are appropriate to heat the whole house as evenly as possible. This is why you need an Olathe heating and cooling professional to help you select the right furnace for the job if you are in need of a replacement.

Choosing the right size furnace affects how many BTUs of heat the furnace produces per square foot, which means that choosing the furnace that's right for your home involves knowing how many square feet you plan to be heating, how many floors, how warm you like your home, and even what type of insulation you have. All of this factors into choosing the proper furnace for your home, which is why it's important to have a pro who can help answer your questions and find the furnace that's perfect for you and your family. Also remember that bigger isn't always better. While a furnace that's too small may not be able to keep up with your home's heating needs, a furnace that is too large may be unable to distribute heat evenly, leaving some rooms too hot while others are too cold. Like Goldilocks, you need to find the furnace that's just right!

NEST learning thermostat

You Can Upgrade the Tech on Your Old Heating System

You don't have to buy a whole new furnace (or AC or heat pump) in order to be more energy-efficient and get more bang for your heating buck. Investing in a NEST or other "smart" thermostat will give you greater control over the temperature of your house, which can help you save a lot on your heating bill over time. In fact, according to the EPA, homes with smart thermostats can save as much as $180 per year on their energy bills. What sets the NEST learning thermostat apart is that it's Wi-Fi connected and built to program itself to your patterns, so that it keeps your house at the temperature you want in the most efficient way possible. 

Every Furnace Has a Life Expectancy

Just like everything else in life, not even the best furnace lasts forever. Like any other hard-working piece of equipment, a furnace can only keep chugging along for so many years before a replacement is needed. How do you know if it's time to replace your home's furnace? It'll tell you.

The average life expectancy of an installed home furnace is about 16 years. That means if you've already had yours for 15 years or more—or if it was already in the house when you moved in—then it may be time for a furnace replacement. But an average life expectancy is just that—an average—and some furnaces don't last quite as long. If your furnace is on its last legs, you may notice increased frequency in needed repairs, heating bills that keep creeping up even though you don't adjust the thermostat, your furnace struggling to keep the house as warm as it once did, or weird noises emanating from the furnace or the ventilation system. Any of these may be signs that your furnace is ready to give up the ghost. While you may be able to extend the life of your furnace by taking good care of it and making sure that it gets regular tune-ups from an Olathe heating and cooling professional, sooner or later it'll be time for a new furnace. 

Furnace Maintenance is 100% Necessary

All furnaces break down eventually, but if you want your furnace to continue working properly and reach its maximum life expectancy, then you'll need to have the furnace maintained by an Olathe heating and cooling professional regularly. These tune-ups will not only alert you if there's a problem with your system and help extend the life of your furnace, they'll also help keep it running at peak efficiency, which keeps your home cozier and saves you money on utility bills.

Just because the furnace is (probably) in the basement doesn't mean that it should be neglected. In fact, regular maintenance is not only necessary to keeping your furnace running well and efficiently, but also required by many manufacturers' warranties. So, check your warranty paperwork, and whether it's required or not, have an Olathe heating and cooling professional take a look at your HVAC system at least twice every year, preferably before you fire up the furnace for the first time. Something that you can do yourself to help improve the performance and lifespan of your furnace is to make sure that you change the filters regularly.

If you need an Olathe heating and cooling professional to come out and take a look at your furnace—whether you're having problems, considering replacement, or just need a tune-up—call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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