Getting Your Furnace Ready For Colder Weather
Getting Your Furnace Ready For Colder Weather
September 15, 2020
Winter. It’s a time for cheer. And chills. A good heating system is indispensable and invaluable once the snow begins to fall.
Though, if you’re waiting until December to make sure everything’s in working order, you’re a bit late to the party. There are a few steps you can take in order to make sure your furnace is ready in time for thermometers to drop.
Here are a few things to do in order to prepare your furnace for the winter months.
Schedule Your Furnace Maintenance Ahead Of Time
If you’re not completely sure of what’s going on, get it checked by a professional. The trick here is to do this sooner than later. Practically speaking, there are going to be packed schedules that lead to you waiting longer, particularly during the coldest times of the year. Save time by being ahead of the curve.
You won’t regret it.
Professionals have itemized, specified, detailed inspections that will catch routine replacements and unexpected flaws in equipment and heating systems.
Make Sure Your Thermostat Is In Good Order
Swing by the thermostat and make sure it’s switched from cooling to heating. Ensure that it turns on and that it’s functioning as intended. The heat should engage, but there could very well be a power issue. It may be a problem with the breaker or fuse, but if something worse is going on, well, see item one in this list. If you’ve got an older home, it’ll be worth your while to upgrade your thermostat to a modern, programmable thermostat. These have various improvements, including some optimizations that could very well pay for itself in the first year. Many of these have features that’ll “learn” what temperatures you prefer according to your schedule, so you may have to check it far less often than you did previously.
Once the thermostat is in order, listen to things. Is there rattling? Is each room the right temperature?
Replace Your Furnace Filters
When was the last time you changed the filters? The standard time frame is one to three months, depending on the make and model of the filters. Once other factors like hair, dander, and allergens come into play, seriously consider changing the filters more often. Restricting airflow will affect heat efficiency. Make sure you get the filter rated for your furnace, as well.
Keep Your Ducts And Vents Are Clear
Furniture and clutter around vents will restrict air flow. Try shifting objects that obstruct the flow of warm air from those vents. Also, see if those vents are open in the first place. It’s possible that debris has collected around them that could be stopping air flow as well.
Ducts could be carrying dust and allergens that affect the health of some residents and guests. It’s helpful to give the vents and ducts a quick vacuum to keep things tidy.
Perform Annual Furnace Inspection
First, ensure that no power is going to the furnace. Then, remove the steel cover with a screwdriver and inspect the innards of the furnace. Within the furnace, there may be a blower fan belt. If that rubber belt is in any way cracked, it’s time to replace it. Don’t push this one off. The blower may also need fresh oil. Normally it’ll need oil about once a year.
While you’re in there, check out the furnace burners as well. Make sure everything’s clean and there’s no build up of dust, rust, or wear and tear. Dust or vacuum it out.
There may be various wiring inside the furnace, depending on the make and model. Regardless of the type or brand of furnace, wiring shouldn’t be loose, disconnected, or burnt. All of those issues could lead to, well, much larger issues. It’s a simple check before moving along to the next item, which is to …
Assess The Age Of Your Furnace
You may not like the sound of this, but it might be time to replace the furnace if it’s older than 15 to 20 years. The energy bills may be higher, repairs may be costlier, soot may be heavier, and its durability may be waning. More expensive and less efficient is not how the world should work, and that same principle applies to your furnace.
It may be worth your while to invest in a heat pump, as well.
Inspect Your Chimney
The exhaust flue or furnace exhaust stack will pump out fumes and carbon monoxide from the machinery. There can be cracks in this pipe and leaks in its joints. Corroded metal can be dangerous when it comes to equipment that is piping away noxious fumes. Ensure that nothing is out of order in the chimney, as well as outside the chimney. There could be an obstruction outside like an animal nest that could affect the flow of exhaust. If you’re running a gas fireplace, it would be worth your while to have a professional come out and ensure your gas fireplace is in working order.