Winter is coming, and before it arrives you must prepare your furnace. This blog tells you what to do to make sure your furnace is operating safely and efficiently.
When the first cold day of the year hits, you don’t want to turn on the furnace only to find out it isn’t working properly. Even when your furnace is off during the warmer months, a lot can still affect how it runs later. Therefore, you should start preparing for the cold weather early. In the next two sections, we cover tasks you as a homeowner can do to prepare and what professionals can do to help you prepare.
Tasks for You
- Change your furnace filter – Your furnace filter should be changed regularly. It’s recommended to change it every 3 months, but you should check on it every 30 days. If the filter is dark, discolored or caked in debris it’s time for a new one!
- Fill up your furnace (gas furnace only) – If you have a gas furnace, the best time to contact your gas company for a fill up is during the warmer months. Gas is much cheaper to buy during the summer instead of in the middle of a cold spell.
- Bleed the valves (radiators only) – If you have hot-water radiators, bleeding the valves is a normal part of maintenance. You can do so by slightly opening the valves, then closing them again when water starts to appear. The purpose of this is to release the air that is trapped in the radiator. It is recommended you do this once a year to keep your system working efficiently, doing this can also save you money on your bill.
- Install a smart thermostat – You can save a lot on your energy bills by installing a programable or smart thermostat. It will allow you to set the temperature to a different level according to various conditions. For example, you can program the thermostat to increase the temperature to 75 during bedtime, then automatically have it lower to 68 right after you leave for work in the morning.
- Unblock the furnace and vents – Move any items that are stored around the furnace away from it, particularly anything that could possibly catch fire. Also, move any furniture or other household items that could be sitting on top or in front of the air ducts and return vents.
Tasks for a professional
There’s no doubt about it, the best thing to do is the call an HVAC professional to come and inspect your furnace. Even if you suspect nothing is wrong, regular maintenance checks are always the way to go. During a maintenance inspection, the repairman will check the furnace fan, blower, heat pump etc. In addition, they should also clean the furnace, change the filter, check for leaks and the presence of unhealthy gasses, and ensure everything is operational. Although it is an additional cost, it’s recommended that you also ask your repairman to clean your furnace ducts and vents.
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For additional information on common furnace problems, check out this useful article on the Department of Energy’s website.