Checking Your Furnace Before Winter
It is important to check your furnace to make sure it is ready for winter, so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when the weather turns cold. It is common for homeowners to ignore their furnaces during the warmer months, only to turn the furnace on in the winter to find they have some kind of problem that keeps it from working as well as it should. These problems can run from issues with inefficient operation to total breakdown of the machine. It’s never fun to have your furnace stop working in the middle of winter, in terms of both the discomfort you and your family will experience, and the money it will cost to complete whatever repairs or replacements are needed. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you won’t find yourself in that situation. Taking these measures will also help you anticipate any expenses you will have in the future and any repairs or replacement you will need to schedule. These preventative steps include the following:
Remove Clutter from Furnace Area
Most people have their furnace in an out-of-the-way area like a basement or closet. Be sure you are not storing anything near the furnace that could lead to a fire when the furnace is set to heat.
Furnace Air Filter
- Take a look at your furnace air filter and change it if necessary. The furnace air filter is found behind the furnace door, so you can get to it by opening this door with a screwdriver.
- Pull out the air filter and look at it back and front.
- The furnace air filter should be free of dust and should be swapped out and replaced with a new one every couple of months, depending on what season it is.
- Be sure to change the filters often during the summer months if you have central heating.
- If your furnace comes with air filters that can be reused, wash these items well and dry them thoroughly so they are ready to be used when needed.
Check the burners of your furnace to make sure there is not a buildup of dust. If there is, be sure to thoroughly clean the burners. While you are cleaning the burners, be on the lookout for the following problems with the burners:
- Rust or other deterioration
Furnace Blower and Motor
There are several steps to take to ensure the furnace blower and motor are working properly.
- Test the motor to make sure it runs quietly.
- If there are strange noises emanating from the blower, this should be looked into by a professional.
- Grease the blower motor once yearly to ensure it does not rust.
Test the Furnace
- Turn the furnace on using your electrical panel.
- Check your thermostat while the furnace runs. (Be sure it is set to heating.)
- Make sure the thermostat shows the house heating up during this period.
Book an Appointment Early
If you notice any major problems when you conduct this checklist, or if you find that any of the components of the furnace are worn out, you will need to contact a professional.
- It’s a good idea to make sure you get an appointment scheduled in advance to clean, inspect, or repair your furnace if you need to.
- The reason for this is because it is common for companies that specialize in heating and cooling to become booked up the closer it gets to winter.