As the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to make sure your furnace is working well.
You don’t want to turn on your furnace that first cold day only to find out it’s not working.
While the best thing you can do is to call an HVAC professional to have them inspect your furnace there are some things you can do proactively to ensure that your furnace will work when you first fire it up for the season.
Regularly change your furnace filter(s)
Some manufacturers recommend every 3 months while others say monthly is best.
At the minimum, check it after 30 days to make sure that it’s not filling up too fast with debris. Too much dust, lint, hair, etc. can impact not only its performance but can shorten its life span.
It will be clear when you look at it whether or not it needs changed; if it looks pretty good wait a little longer to replace it.
One way to save money and to ensure that you always have filters on hand is to stock up on them during the warm summer months.
Clear away clutter
If you have any items placed on or near your furnace, especially things like furniture, boxes or other items that can easily ignite, remove them from the area.
Save on fuel costs
Have a gas furnace?
Save on fuel costs and have the gas company fill your tank up before winter.
Many gas companies will extend a contract for six months to a year that will save a lot of money. The only drawback is that the money is required up front, which can be a stretch for many households.
Other maintenance tasks
If you use hot water radiators bleed the valves by opening them slightly and then closing them again once you start to see water. This will confirm that your heaters should work properly once you need them.
Registers and air ducts
Your home’s air ducts blow the hot air from your furnace throughout your home.
Check to make sure your registers are open and free of any obstructions like furniture, boxes, clothing, etc.
Wipe your registers clean and look through them to make sure there are no blockages. Things like small toys and other household items can sometimes find their way inside vents. (Note: This is especially true if your vents are in the floor.)
Remove any obstructions to ensure that the air blows freely throughout the ductwork.
Belts and gears
Look at the fan belt on your furnace. It’s connected to the motor that will power the blower that pushes hot air from the furnace throughout your home.
Make sure that it’s got good tension and adjust if necessary.
Look for signs of wear such as cracks or worn spots. If the belt is too loose your furnace won’t work as well to heat your home, and will take more power or fuel to do its job, costing you more money the colder it gets.
Some older furnace models can have bearings that need to be oiled or greased. If they are not maintained they can wear out which may lead to expensive repairs or in some cases a completely new furnace.
Finally, ensure that the blower doors are tightly closed. This will reduce the ability for carbon monoxide to mix with the warm air and get circulated throughout your home.
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