How to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter?
If it’s suddenly cold outside, that’s a sign to brace yourself because winter is coming.
While most of the year you can rely on steadily warm and humid weather, the incoming months starkly contrast with what you are used to all year. A Utahn winter season can be grueling for you and your heating system.
If your furnace has laid dormant during warmer months, get to dusting and tidying all that dust for seamless heating.
Here are some furnace maintenance tips to prepare it when the temperature drops.
Pre-Winter Furnace Maintenance Tips
Scheduling pre-season maintenance is always advisable. Enlisting a professional to clean and inspect your furnace after a long period of not being used can better ensure its reliability and efficiency throughout the winter months.
Tip #1: Hire a trained professional to conduct an annual maintenance service during autumn.
Here are other quick furnace maintenance tips you can do yourself. Remember, nothing beats regular maintenance. However, these are things you can do if you are already gasping for warm air.
Quick view of maintenance tips:
- Schedule yearly furnace maintenance before winter.
- Inspect and clean your filters.
- Check the state of your burners.
- Remove any obstructions near vents.
- Clean your pilot light assembly before primary re-ignition.
- Replace corroded or rusty fan blades.
- Check the manufacturer’s specifications in case of system failure.
- Report unusual noises.
- Familiarize yourself with your thermostat.
- Keep up with routine professional maintenance.
Tip #2: Check your furnace filter system.
A dirty furnace filter can hinder your heating system, costing more energy while providing insufficient warmth. Many homeowners with natural gas furnaces think they save on energy costs, but that is only part of the truth. If you don’t maintain your gas furnace, distributing heating around air ducts can cost more energy.
Your furnace’s filter plays a major role in the entire operation. While filters cannot directly better air quality, your furnace’s air filters protect internal components from dust and debris. Any particle pollution and contamination pose different obstructions and hazards to internal components. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow, preventing sufficient input from making it where it needs to be.
Your furnace’s air filter can affect the one in your HVAC system or air ducts once dust and debris make it past the primary air filter into heating vents blowing air into your living spaces, directly affecting your indoor air quality.
If you see a dirty filter in your furnace after months of no usage, clean it to ensure only pristine air flow through your air ducts. However, only some dirty or clogged filters can be remedied by thoroughly cleaning. Change your furnace filter every few months.
Tip #3: Check your burners.
Furnace maintenance requires a thorough cleaning, and it isn’t just filters that get dirty. While filters help prevent pollution from contaminating your furnace, residual fuel and burner moisture can cause corrosion.
Burners and blowers may not be accessible from the outside, and you will have to open up your furnace to inspect them. Ensure all systems are off and any links to supply lines before opening furnace doors to check on internal components. A sophisticated configuration of internal components comprises your home furnace. The most vital parts lay in your burners:
- heat exchangers
- pilot light
- flame sensor
Each element plays a unique role that’s crucial to keep your furnace working properly.
The heat exchanger facilitates airflow in and out of your furnace, letting usable air into the furnace and keeping breathable output separate from contaminated air. Heat exchangers dispel waste heat into chimney-type vents and direct breathable hot air into your air handlers.
Tip #4: Remove obstructions and use a vacuum cleaner around all openings; blocked vents may redirect carbon monoxide fumes into your AC system.
A low, light yellow or flickering flame indicates dirty furnace burners. If the pilot light doesn’t turn on, don’t be too quick to blame it on a sensitive or faulty flame sensor. Delayed ignition may be due to internal contamination or residue and condensation.
Tip #5: Gently dust off debris with an emery cloth, and wipe off any residue on your pilot light assembly using light grit sandpaper.
Tip #6: Replace rusty fan blades, and wipe off or remove any dust and debris on your blower wheel.
Your burners let air flow through various vents to gather input and produce output. A blower system is responsible for allowing air in and out of your furnace. Natural gas furnaces also require air intake to generate any output. Insufficient air can result in an overheated furnace due to various pressure buildup, causing overcompensation and a possible surge in your utility bill.
Like burners, your blowers are more than just a one-person team. Various elements make up the entire furnace blower system. Keep an eye on these components and ensure they undergo routine maintenance, as any damage will warrant costly repairs.
The heating season may throw your motor into overdrive. You must maintain the motor to keep everything else in working order. Always keep your furnace clean to secure your engines from dislodged parts and harmful particles. Anything that infiltrates them may get in the way of their wire connections. Your entire furnace may break down due to frayed wires. If you live in an area with rats, deploy extra precautions against rodents and pests.
Tip #7: Depending on manufacturer warranties, you might be able to replace a malfunctioning or damaged motor.
The blower fan, the wheel it’s on, and its blades all directly affect one another. Solid debris, such as rocks, may be caught in your blower if your furnace produces unusual banging and rattling noises. Small stones and sharp objects may tear through the furnace filters into other components. The filter can only vet microparticles and soft larger ones. Winter requires more heating, causing fans to rotate much faster.
Tip #8: Remember that you may attribute a few unusual noises to more vigorous fan rotation, but the higher demand for heating shouldn’t warrant alarming noises.
Tip #9: Always familiarize yourself with manufacturer specifications before setting your thermostat.
A cooling or heating system comes with a separate thermostat. Thermal controls allow quick temperature alterations. However, a thermostat may not quickly shift from cooling to heating at a moment’s notice. There are also possible issues with compatibility with your thermostat and HVAC system. You might need to replace the unit or fix its internal wiring if your HVAC equipment stops responding to thermostat controls. No predictable or universal lifespan guarantees your thermostat. However, with its systems included in your yearly maintenance, it should last a decade.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Heating System
The most important tip of all our furnace maintenance and tune-up tips, especially before winter months, is to ensure regular inspection and comprehensive maintenance. Things that start with your filter that isn’t dealt with in time may keep you from your dreams of a cozy winter. Comfort isn’t the only thing a dirty furnace can negatively impact. Your faulty furnace can also put your health and safety at risk.
How Your HVAC System Can Affect Your Health?
Something as simple as bird nests resting on exit pipes and heating vents can threaten your health. Nests blocking intake pipes may contaminate the resources going into your furnace. However, anything blocking your exhaust pipes traps contamination within your furnace, impacting your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Indoor Air Quality
A lot of us know about IAQ but continue to neglect the different dangers it poses to our health. Your home’s IAQ is determined by the presence of Carbon Dioxide in your indoor environment. A buildup of CO2 can lead to chronic and acute respiratory illnesses. However, it isn’t your home’s most dangerous chemical gaseous compound. Carbon monoxide exposure is more harmful and potentially fatal compared to CO2 buildup.
While you can still let carbon dioxide out through natural and mechanical ventilation systems, carbon monoxide poisoning happens much more quickly. Even more problematic is carbon dioxide smells like rotten eggs, allowing homeowners to pick up on it faster than its more hazardous counterpart.
Carbon monoxide doesn’t smell like anything and stagnates anywhere with static pressure. You won’t be able to get rid of it as fast as it can build up. Call for emergency heating repair immediately.
Furnace Maintenance & Repair
Tip #10: Don’t hesitate to call professionals for help.
A furnace is a sophisticated system. It requires professional tools and techniques. Using amateur tools and techniques, you might cause more damage by conducting haphazard repairs. If you have been duped by unreliable services before, remember that there are transparent and honest HVAC technicians you can entrust with your heating system.
One Stop Heating & Air Conditioning
Problems with your cooling and heating system? Don’t worry! One-Stop Heating & Air Conditioning does more than just winter furnace maintenance.
Not only can our top-rated team of specialists clean and replace your air filter, we can also maintain all your vital furnace components at a moment’s notice, just in time for the heating season! Catch problems early before they need costly repairs.
Are you looking for a furnace tune-up or furnace repair service in Sandy, Utah? We’re there! Contact us day or night, and we will get your heating and the rest of your HVAC equipment up and at them for winter and all year long.