As soon as the cold winter gusts start blowing, you don’t want your warm and cozy house to become cold and chilly. And without a clean furnace, you are more likely to get sick with the onset of winter.
So, if you own a furnace that has been collecting dust for the past few months, now is the time to take it out. There’s no better time than now to clean the furnace and get it ready for the cold winter season so that your family can stay completely warm and toasty despite the chilly weather. If you’re unsure of where to get started, have a look at the following ten tips to get your furnace completely winter-ready to have it running efficiently.
1. Get an appointment to clean your furnace before winter
Since everyone rushes to get their furnace serviced and checked as winter starts, professional companies are swamped, so you might have to wait a while till you get your turn. Therefore, it’s better to schedule furnace maintenance even before winter starts. Hiring professionals to service and clean the furnace is ideal for saving money. Not only that, but furnaces cleaned by professionals work more efficiently.
Conversely, also schedule an inspection with your local HVAC professionals. The inspection will help you point out potential issues that you should get corrected.
It’s important to hire a licensed technician to do so. He will look for things like proper airflow and pressure and inspect the other components of the furnace to ensure everything is in order.
2. Check the thermostat
If you didn’t get your furnace serviced before the winter and want to use it now, there’s no need to worry. There are still things you can do to get it winter-ready.
Start off by checking the thermostat. When you switch your HVAC system from cooling to heating, you might have to make some changes. Turn the thermostat to heat and slowly start raising the temperature until it’s a little higher than the room temperature. While doing so, notice if you hear the heat turn on. If you don’t, check the wire connections under the cover to ensure everything is securely attached.
When turning on the heat, also check the furnace fan, heat pump, and blower. Checking the thermostat, and conversely, the whole system early on, means that there’s a better chance of finding problems and addressing them before it starts to get cold.
3. Change out the filters
As a rule of thumb, you should change your HVAC filters once a month. If you haven’t done so for the past few months, now is the time to replace it.
The importance of replacing filters cannot be stressed upon. They could be replaced or cleaned monthly to avoid harmful particles from clogging up and, in turn, damaging your system. With a dirty filter, your furnace won’t work efficiently, either, since warm air won’t be able to pass through the duct work.
4. Inspect the heat exchanger
You should vacuum the heat exchanger at least once a year, or you can hire a trained professional. Doing so not only preserves and prolongs your furnace’s life but also keeps it running efficiently.
Look for cracks since they can lead to a carbon monoxide leak, which can be fatal. A thorough cleaning lets you identify possible issues while you prepare the heat exchanged for the cold.
5. Protect the condenser
Now that you won’t be using the AC for a few months, it’s time to go out and protect the AC condenser. Things like falling branches and icicles can damage the condenser, which can cause expensive repairs. To keep your condenser safe, just cover it with a trash can lid and secure it in place using bungee cords.
You can cover the condenser fan with a wood board, but make sure you avoid plastic tarp because it can lead to moisture build-up. Consequently, you will have to face problems as the days start getting warmer.
6. Take a look at the vents
Before winter starts, make sure you dust and clean all the registers and vents. With a clean vent, warm air can easily flow into your home, which makes it easier for the furnace to work at its full potential.
Moreover, if there are vents along the floorboards or on the floor, check to see if they’re exposed. If there are things like furniture or blankets covering the vents, remove them, so you can enjoy warm air in the winter.
7. Check the ignition switch
Modern furnaces come with an electronic ignition that is activated with just the push of a button. If your ignition switch fails to work, try resetting the button to see if that helps. If not, take a look at the breaker.
If nothing else works, call a professional technician for help. The switch might have to be replaced entirely if you can’t activate it.
8. Clean the furnace burners
During the summer, dust and debris can collect on the furnace burners. So, before winters start, it’s best to clean the burners. When doing so, make sure you keep an eye out for rust or misalignment.
9. Oil the furnace blower
When getting the furnace ready for winter, you must make sure that all the components are not only clean but also in good condition.
The furnace blower is important for the effectiveness and efficiency of your heating system. So, you need to oil it once a year to improve the overall performance and prevent unusual noises.
10. Pair the clean furnace with a winter-ready house
Apart from checking your furnace and getting it ready for the cold, you also need to get your house ready. Seal the doors and windows, look for gaps, and replace the weather-stripping.
In addition, rotate the ceilings fans in the clockwise direction so they can help to circulate and blow warm air downward. Also, ensure that the insulation in the attic is in good condition.
Remember, the better prepared your house is for the winter, the less strain will be put on your furnace. A well-insulated home and a clean furnace work hand-in-hand.
There’s no need to worry about the chilling temperatures of winter. With a clean furnace that is maintained and cared for properly, you will be able to stay toasty throughout the cold months. Just make sure to replace the filter, check the furnace oil, and clean the vents. Finally, schedule an inspection so that all problems with your furnace can be taken care of before it gets cold.
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