Originally published on Oct. 30, 2017
Prepare Your Furnace for Winter – 5 Simple Steps
Winter is just around the corner, ushering in frigid temperatures almost overnight. Ensuring your house stays warm is vital for your family’s comfort, and no matter how cozy your blankets and fireplaces are, you’ll want to make sure your HVAC system is ready to switch over to heat. Is your furnace prepared to handle the coldest months?
Now is the time to think about steps you can take to prepare your heating unit for the cold winter ahead. Here are some steps you can take this fall to take care of your furnace and keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Replace Air Filters
Replacing your air filters on a regular basis keeps your HVAC system clean of dirt and particles and increases its longevity. The U.S. Department of Energy considers air filter replacement one of the most important maintenance tasks to ensure heating and cooling efficiency.
Make it a habit to change your filters every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filters used and your location’s climate. A dry, dusty climate may require more filter upkeep than other locations.
Each air filter is assigned a MERV rating or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The MERV rating reports how effectively your filter traps airborne particles, using a scale of 1-16. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter, and your unit functions. However, you don’t want to use an air filter with too high of a MERV rating since this can restrict airflow.
Before turning on heat for the winter, you will want to either inspect your ducts yourself or get a professional to come out. Duct leaks are common and contribute to poor heating throughout the whole home. Holes, gaps, and other damage can result in wasted heat, which leads to frustration and higher bills. Now is the best time to bring out an HVAC contractor to ensure your ducts are ready for winter.
Clear Air Vents
Vents are notorious for collecting dirt and dust over time which restricts air flow and contributes to poor indoor air quality. Clean out all openings with a wet cloth and ensure nothing is blocking any vent openings.
Test Your Furnace
The last thing you want is to turn on your furnace for the first time on a cold winter day and find that the heating system needs repairs. Switch on your unit before cold weather hits and check for any abnormal signs – loud noises, cold spots in the house, or thermostat discrepancies. Each room should reach a comfortable temperature without issue.
Avoid Fire Hazards
Make sure all clutter is removed from around your heating unit to avoid fire hazards. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries or units if needed. Ensuring this equipment is operational is vital to your family’s safety during the winter season.
Taking the time to perform these quick, easy steps can keep your furnace running smoothly through all of winter. Put your mind at ease and get the help of a qualified technician to perform a full system inspection to avoid any problems that may arise.