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Picture it: you’re lying comfortably in your warm bed, sleeping soundly. Then, you’re suddenly awoken by a clanking sound coming from your basement. Is it the dog? No, he’s still sleeping at the foot of your bed. Did the kids decide to get up in the middle of the night to take care of organizing that clutter in your basement? Dream on.

You decide to creep slowly down the stairs into the dark unknown. You hear it again...clank-clank-clank. What could it possibly be? Your eyes dart from corner to corner until they focus on the furnace. You hear the sound again and discover the culprit. Your heating system is experiencing a serious issue. What a nightmare!

At this point, you aren’t terrified by what’s causing the sound. Instead, you’re more worried about how much it’s going to cost to get this problem taken care of. Also, you’re horrified by the thought of trying to look for a reputable service provider to help diagnose the problem and get it fixed.

Fortunately, this horror story is one that doesn’t have to become a reality in your family’s home. With a little foresight and care, you can help ensure your heating system continues running smoothly all season long, so this unfortunate situation doesn’t have to happen to you!

What can I do to prevent a furnace breakdown?

Make sure you’re scheduling annual maintenance appointments for your heating system. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that if their home feels warm, then the furnace must be working just fine. However, if you neglect to have a professional come and tune-up this vital appliance on a yearly basis, you run the risk of having a dirty, dusty, inefficient system with worn-out parts that will likely experience a breakdown at the most inconvenient time.

The skilled and experienced technician sent to your home for your maintenance appointment will carefully and thoroughly clean and inspect vital working components of your heating system. If he or she discovers a problem, they will recommend the appropriate repairs to get your furnace working normally once again.

Benefits of regular annual heating maintenance include potentially lower energy bills, less frequent breakdowns, a more evenly warmed home, improved indoor air quality, and prevention of premature wear and tear on your unit.

Is there any furnace maintenance I can do on my own?

Yes! Be sure that you are regularly changing the air filter installed on your heating system. Air passing through your furnace will first circulate through the filter before being pushed out through the vents in your home. If you don’t replace the filter regularly, it will become increasingly full of dirt and dust, making it more and more difficult for warm air to pass through. This could potentially cause your furnace to work harder than necessary to move warm air through your ducts. Additionally, a dirty filter could jeopardize your home’s indoor air quality — bad news for anyone in your family who may suffer from respiratory problems, such as asthma.

You may need to change the filter more often if you have pets, or individuals in your home who smoke. If you aren’t sure what size filter, or what MERV-rating you need to look for in a replacement, check your furnace’s owner’s manual for more information.

Want additional help preventing a furnace nightmare in your home?

American Water Resources provides an affordable Heating System Repair Program. When you’re enrolled and a covered problem occurs, you don’t have to panic. Instead, pick up the phone and give us a call. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer care specialists will work with you to find a local repair provider to help with diagnosing and treating the problem. Just enter your ZIP code at the top of the webpage to see if this program is available in your area!