Winter is Coming – 5 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Furnace

Is your furnace prepared to keep you warm all winter long? Before you know it, the coldest weather of the season will hit, and while sitting by the fire is enjoyable, you don’t want your fireplace to serve as your only source of heat. As a homeowner, it’s important to ensure that your heating unit is ready for the wintertime.

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Here are some steps you can take in the fall to prepare your heating unit for the colder months and enjoy a comfortable winter.

1. Replace your air filters.

The change in seasons is the perfect time to replace your indoor air filters. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing air filters is the most important maintenance task to ensure the efficiency of your heating and cooling unit.

You can find most replacement filters at your local hardware store, but you will need to know the size and type of your current filter before making a purchase. If the replacement filter does not fit properly, it could damage your system.

All air filters are assigned a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), a rating developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Evaluated on a scale from 1 to 16, the higher the MERV value, the more efficient the filter is at trapping airborne particles, increasing the efficiency of your unit. Be careful not to select an air filter with too high of a MERV rating as it may restrict air flow.

2. Get your ducts in a row.

Debris and holes in your ductwork can cause your heating unit to work harder than it needs to in order to heat your home. Fall is the perfect time to schedule maintenance with a trusted HVAC contractor to ensure your ducts are ready.

3. Vet your vents.

Over time, vents accumulate dirt and debris, which can clog the openings and cause heating issues. Luckily, removing and cleaning the vents with a wet cloth is a quick fix. While you’re at it, be on the lookout for items blocking the vents and remove if possible.

4. Take your furnace for a test ride.

It’s important to test your furnace before the cold hits. When you turn your heating unit on, listen for abnormal sounds, such as banging or rattling. In addition, check your thermostat to ensure that the heating unit is doing its job and each room is a comfortable temperature.

5. Practice safety first.

Be sure to remove any clutter surrounding your heating unit to avoid a potential fire hazard and test your carbon monoxide detector, replacing the existing batteries if necessary.

A brief inspection of your furnace today could keep your system running worry-free throughout the winter, especially older units. A qualified technician can help you do a more thorough inspection to avoid a system failure in the coldest months of the year. Winter is just around the corner, so be sure to get a professional’s opinion before you’re caught in a snowstorm.

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