If there is one thing you do not want to have happen, it’s hearing a click and then nothing else when you turn on your heater for the first time after the weather cools. It’s never a good idea to go into the colder months without checking your furnace first to make certain it’s in good operating condition. Should you neglect your heating unit prior to its busy season it might neglect you.
Check Your Filters First
Your first step in preparing your heater for its winter work is to check your air filters. This not only protects you and your family, it also protects your furnace. Clogged or dirty air filters make your furnace work harder in its efforts to maintain the set temperature in the house, which can eventually cause overheating and breakdown. It’s less expensive to replace your air filters regularly than deal with a heating repair bill, and the air inside your home will be much cleaner and healthier as well. Depending on your unit, you should change out your filters every 30 to 90 days.
Check Your Air Ducts and Vents Next
Checking your air ducts and vents should also be on your list as you get ready for the winter months. Filthy ducts defeat the purpose of clean air filters. As the heater’s fan pushes warm air through the air ducts and vents, it collects the dirt that has built up, and nothing clogs a filter quicker than that extra grime does. If you live in a humid climate, your air ducts and vents may have also grown mold during the summer, which is dangerous for your family once the spores are released into the air. This is why cleaning your air ducts and vents is the next step in your heater preparation.
Check Your Thermostat
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but after you’ve completed the first two steps, flip your thermostat from “cooler” to “heater,” set it at a temperature that will ensure your furnace turns on, and then turn it on. You should hear a click right away and your heater should activate shortly thereafter. If you don’t hear the click or your furnace doesn’t activate, you might have a problem with your thermostat. If your thermostat is older, it may be time for a replacement anyway, as it lacks the efficiency of a newer one.
Check Your Burners
While you are waiting for your furnace to ignite, watch the burners. Once they engage, the flames should be blue, much like the flames on your gas stove. If they are orange, or have too many orange streams in them, your burners are dirty. Shut down the unit and all power to it and clean the grime and soot that has collected on the burners over the years. You must also oil your furnace blower annually, as this is the part that pushes the warm air into your home. If you aren’t comfortable doing either of these pre-winter tasks, contact a professional HVAC company for help.
Preparing your furnace prior to the winter months will ensure that it operates efficiently and effectively in keeping your home’s interior warm. Make certain your family is happy and healthy this winter with pre-season heating maintenance.
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