It’s been unseasonably warm and you are likely still full from your Labor Day barbecue, but before you know it, winter will be back. It starts with turning on the heater in the morning and the air conditioning in the afternoon. And then one day, you will reluctantly turn up the thermostat to get the heat going, and leave it on all day. But before you do, there are a number maintenance and tune-up items that, if done in a timely fashion, will keep you and your furnace happy all winter.
There are several steps you can take on your own, and even more that an HVAC professional can do to make sure that you’re not caught shivering when the inevitable freeze arrives.
Here are some steps you can take on your own to ensure a safe and comfortable winter:
- Filter – Dirty furnace filters put a strain on your furnace’s efficiency, resulting in higher heating costs and a reduced lifespan for your equipment. Pleated furnace furnace filter should be changed every three months; if you are using a less expensive fiberglass filter you should ideally be changing them out every month.
- Thermostat – Make sure that the thermostat is set in the heating mode – if you just set the temperature without checking for the proper mode, you may not get any heat at all.
- Fire Hazards – Ensure that any potentially flammable materials are kept safely away from your furnace. Setting things like rags, gas cans, and lawnmowers near the furnace is simply an invitation to disaster.
- Access panels – Confirm that all access panels are in place and secure with all screws accounted for and tightened if necessary.
- Heater Check – Run the heater for a few minutes before you actually need it. The best time to discover a malfunction is before you run the risk of getting uncomfortably cold in a non-heated house. Remember, when the first cold snap hits, you’ll be competing with lots of other folks to get repairs done and you may need to wait longer than you anticipated for relief.
Ideally, you should find a reputable HVAC maintenance company to do a complete inspection and tune-up on your furnace before the heating season begins. Sunshine Home Services stands ready to perform all of the required tune-up steps or advise you on a replacement for a furnace that has seen better days. A professional tune-up will include:
- Complete Inspection – All working parts of your furnace and will be checked for functionality, signs of wear and need for replacement. This should include the heat exchanger, blower motor, thermostat, safety controls, belts and filter.
- Vent system/ductwork – All parts of your ductwork should be checked for leaks and blockages. This includes examining the flue for obstructions.
- Electronics – All connections should be checked for tightness and for signs of wear and corrosion.
And for gas or oil furnaces:
Thermocouple – An inspection and replacement (if necessary) of the thermocouple will reduce the risk of explosion, and that’s a good thing.
Combustion Gases – The gases generated as a result of combustion in your furnace should be measured and compared to your furnace’s specs.
Pilot – The pilot (or electronic ignition, if present) on your unit should be checked for proper functionality.
Fuel Lines – The fuel lines should be checked for leaks; any breach in the fuel lines can allow harmful gases to escape and can be a potential fire hazard.
Manifold – The manifold gas pressure should be tested to be sure that an acceptable amount of fuel is reaching the burners.
As a member of our Sunshine Club, you a free HVAC inspection twice a year! Call now to schedule your pre-season tune up at 303-622-5526 today and stay warm and cozy this winter!