Even though it’s still technically the summer season, cooler weather will be here before you know it. And with those cooler temperatures will come the need to switch your thermostat from “COOL” to “HEAT.”
Before you make the big switch, be sure that your furnace is in tip-top shape and able to handle whatever weather extremes Mother Nature may have in store.
Check out our furnace maintenance checklist to be sure your heating system is ready for cold weather.
#1. Schedule professional furnace maintenance.
Even if your furnace was operating as expected at the end of the last heating season, don’t assume that it’ll continue to run without any issues this season. Homeowners should have their heating system inspected by a professional on a yearly basis. During this tune-up appointment, the entire furnace is cleaned to prevent a build-up of dirt and dust. Not just that, but all components inside the unit are carefully inspected to ensure they are operating safely and efficiently, including the burners, heat exchanger and flame sensor.
If a potential problem is detected during the appointment, it can be taken care of before it gets worse and results in a breakdown of the entire system — on what would almost certainly be a very cold day.
When your furnace is operating at its best, your family stays comfortable, and your heating bills shouldn’t be as high.
#2. Change your air filter.
The primary role of your air filter is to trap airborne materials such as dirt, dust, pet dander and other allergens, and prevent them from traveling through your ducts and vents with the conditioned air from your furnace or air conditioner.
It’s recommended that homeowners replace the filter monthly, perhaps more often if there are smokers or pets in the home. When you fail to replace the filter, it could lead to problems both for your heating system and for your indoor air quality.
When a dirty filter is in place, your furnace must work harder to push air through. This can lead to extra wear and tear on the unit, along with higher energy bills. Additionally, a dirty air filter means dirty indoor air for your family. This could cause serious problems for anyone in your home who has respiratory issues, such as asthma.
#3. Check your vents.
Before the heating season begins, check your vents in each room to ensure they aren’t blocked by furniture, rugs, curtains and more. If anything is obstructing air flow from your vents, your rooms may be cold and your furnace will have to work overtime in an attempt to regulate the temperature throughout your home so that it can maintain the temperature set on your thermostat.
It’s also important that you have your ducts cleaned on a routine basis. The ductwork helps transport the conditioned air from your furnace throughout the rest of the home. If it’s dirty and dusty, this will obstruct air flow. Not just that, but it can also cause air quality issues for your loved ones.
#4. Ensure your thermostat is ready.
If you have a battery-powered thermostat, this is a great time to replace the old batteries with fresh ones. Many homeowners don’t realize that if the batteries in their thermostat are near the end of their usable life, it can result in a weak signal being sent to their heating system. This may prevent it from cycling on or off regularly and may result in a cold home.
If you have a wired thermostat, pull the panel from the wall and check the wiring to be sure there aren’t any noticeable signs of damage, such as fraying. If you detect an issue, contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible for assistance.
#5. Retire your AC for the season.
When you switch from cooling to heating, your air conditioner won’t be used again for quite some time in your home. Now is the time to get it prepared for its “off-season.” There’s no need to cover your condenser (the outdoor part of your air conditioner) as this could result in trapped moisture and eventually nasty mold growth.
Instead, we recommend making sure all bushes and tree limbs are trimmed back from the condenser, leaving two feet of clearance around the unit. Also, don’t use the condenser as a tabletop or as a place on which to lean things like bikes and yard tools.
For professional and dependable furnace maintenance, sign up for our Heating Maintenance Plan. When you’re enrolled in the plan, you’re entitled to an annual tune-up for one heating system, so you can let the professionals do the work! Want more information or have specific questions you need answered? Feel free to call us at any time, or chat with a customer service representative on our website during standard business hours by clicking the “Click to Chat” tab on the right side of the page.