The chilly parts of fall should be a prelude to Old Man Winter’s arrival. The chill should be a sign to insulate your windows and doors, swap out summer clothes for winter wear, and buy snow shovels. Add preparing your furnace to the routine. In case you don’t know, here are five ideas to get you going.
Thermostats need separate checkups because they function differently. Electric thermostats switch from cooling to heating with a button or switch, and you should power on the thermostat and switch it to heating. You should hear a heating sound and feel warm heat from the vents. If everything is fine, turn the thermostat up a few degrees to discover if there are any changes in sound and touch.
If the heat doesn’t come on or hot air doesn’t come out of the vents, change the batteries and reset the thermostat. There could be a wiring issue if the same problems persist, but it may also be a fan, heat pump, or blower issue. An HVAC technician can solve thermostat issues or ask you to replace the current one with a newer model.
Meanwhile, the gas-powered versions need a flame to operate. Older ones need a technician to light the flame. Newer ones have an igniter switch to turn on the power light. Call a technician if the igniter switch isn’t turning on the light.
Oil furnaces need their nozzle cleaned, the heat exchanger brushed, and the air filter changed for a new one. While you can change the filter, call a professional if the nozzle and heat exchanger are too much to clean. The professional can also test oil and gas furnaces to see if they operate at an immaculate level with no carbon monoxide leaks. Repairs and replacements may be necessary.
A dirty air filter contains dust, debris, and dirt from warmer months. Should it remain unchanged, the dust, dirt, and debris will block air from traveling through the vents into your home. The furnace runs slower, works harder, pollutes clean air, and burns out the motor.
You may think that because a used filter doesn’t look dirty, it’s not. A used filter is dirty the moment you use the furnace after changing it. A clean filter fresh from the package is the cleanest filter.
A clean filter during the colder months means it can operate at maximum speed. The furnace runs faster, warms the home in less time, protects the motor, and doesn’t have debris, dust, and dirt blocking the air from heating the home. That adds up to paying less money on the light or energy bill.
Freestanding and portable units may have dust, dirt, and debris on the vents, inside the machine, and around the motor. That comes from accumulating dirt, debris, and dust in storage, not cleaning it before storing it for the season, or both.
If you can open the unit, do so and get a vacuum arm extension or brush to clean it. If it cannot open, use a hairdryer to blow out most of the dust from the vents. Be sure it is off and unplugged before cleaning it.
Self-cleaning the air ducts may not be a DIY project you want to take on alone. HVAC contractors will inspect the ducts for holes, cracks, tears, dents, blocked passageways, and other airflow issues.
If parts of the furnace are outdoors, the contractors should inspect it for issues. You can do your part to protect the unit by removing debris and covering it up with a weatherproof AC cover. That protects it from damage because of harsh weather.
Unless the company hired can do the job, furnaces connected to a chimney or exhaust flues need a separate expert to examine them. Both areas need a free passageway to release fumes, and no branches, leaves, or flying debris should block them.
Winter is the worst time to inspect your furnace. Inspection will not be on your mind because keeping warm is more important. It will be stressful if the furnace fails during the coldest parts of winter. Therefore, you and the expert must examine the furnace as early as possible.