What you need to do before you flip the switch
It’s officially fall and the temperature is starting to drop. While this mild-weather changeover is a great opportunity to save on utility costs, you’ll eventually have to fire up the furnace.
If you’ve already had your furnace professionally serviced for the winter months, you probably won’t have any issues when you flip the switch. But, if you haven’t touched your furnace since the spring you should keep reading…
How to prepare your furnace for fall and winter
Replace the filter
A clogged filter will restrict the flow of hot air, and your unit will need to work twice as hard to deliver the heat. It could also cause the furnace to stop working all together.
It really is vital to replace an old filter with a brand new one before the weather turns cold.
Clear the area
If your furnace is located in a storage area of your home, make sure that all storage items or summer paraphernalia like beach floaties or kayak paddles are relocated. Any flammable materials propped against the furnace are a potential fire hazard.
Vacuum the interior
The dust and debris that builds up, especially at the base of the heater and the burners, needs to be removed. An ordinary vacuum cleaner will do the job just right (unless you have an oil furnace).
So, roll those sleeves and get busy!
Check the blower belt
A loose blower belt can increase the necessary operating time for your furnace. It’s important that you replace any frayed or cracked belts, and check your owner’s manual to see if lubrication is necessary.
Check the exhaust flue
Almost all furnace units will have an exhaust flue directed from the house that allows the byproducts of combustion to escape. It’s essential that this process isn’t prevented, so check to see that there isn’t any build-up.
Clear the vents
Clogged vents are a common cause of a malfunctioning furnace. Ensure that none of your vents are obstructed by furniture or clogged up with dirt and dust.
Often a quick vacuum and a wipe with a damp cloth is enough to clear the vents. If you do this and notice that heat isn’t reaching every room in your home, it might be time to call in the professionals.
Test your thermostat
Even if your thermostat kept working hard when switched to cooling mode, it’s always worth double-checking that it still functions in heating mode.
Take a digital thermometer from room to room to make sure that your home is heating up accurately and evenly.
Ways to further winterize your home
Once your furnace is warmed up and ready for the season ahead, there are a few other important home winterization steps that you can take to make sure you remain safe and comfortable until the spring thaw.
Check & replace weather stripping
Some form of weather stripping should be present on every window and exterior door of your home. Over time, the elements can take a toll and the weather stripping may peel or crack. Wherever you find damaged weather stripping, replace it to avoid drafts and the loss of warm air.
Check your chimney
If you have a functional wood-burning fireplace that you intend to use, make sure that you have it cleaned and inspected before you intend to use it.
Trim those trees
Pay particular attention to tree limbs that could fall onto power lines or through windows. If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, the added weight of snow could easily bring those limbs down and cause property damage.
Prepare for an emergency
Winter storms develop suddenly on our coast, and severe storms could leave you without power and heat for hours (or even days).
Store at least a three-day supply of fresh water and non-perishable food, along with flashlights, batteries, a radio, and plenty of blankets, sleeping bags and medical supplies. If you have a generator, make sure that you keep it maintained and ready for any emergency.
Test your carbon monoxide detectors
Cracked furnace heat exchangers are one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide leaks. Make sure you have at least one carbon monoxide detector for each floor of your home, and test those detectors monthly.
While keeping your toes toasty, winterizing your home can also help you save money all season long.
If you need help getting your home ready for winter, or your furnace is overdue for a tune-up, call us today!
From now until January 2019, we are offering a FREE carbon monoxide detector with all maintenance calls for any natural gas furnace, fireplace, or tankless water heater.
Call us at 250.465.2490 or send us an email and we’ll gladly call you back.