Is Your Furnace Ready For Winter?
As the seasons change and the air turns cooler, it's finally time to give our A/C units a break from brutal summers and make sure our furnaces are ready to go when the temperatures dip.
In this post, we'll go over a furnace maintenance checklist so you can keep your furnace running smoothly all winter long.
Clean around outdoor HVAC units
Take a stroll around your property to clear all vegetation and debris away from the A/C compressor and heat pump. You will want to keep at least two feet of space clear around those areas at all times. This guarantees sufficient airflow and helps stop damage to the units.
Retire the A/C for the season
Book your unit a flight to Florida and pour them a pina colada-- maybe not that extreme, but it's important to get your A/C ready for a little winter R&R. To do so, turn off your unit's outdoor switch, which will prevent it from accidentally turning on.
Clean floor vents, registers, and chimneys
Eliminate floor registers, and vacuum out the ducts, which are magnets for dust, hair, and crumbs, which can all contaminate your home's air, reducing efficiency and making you crank up the temperature. Move heavy furniture and other objects that may block registers, strain your system, and ensure that combustible products are safely stored away.
Check insulation and ductwork
If your insulation is wearing so thin that you can see the tops of the attic joists, it's time for some repairs. To ensure your family is adequately defended:
- Add a new layer of unfaced batt insulation perpendicular to the old layer.
- Make sure the pieces above are pushed together so they fit snugly side by side. If an inch or more of joist is showing, use blown-in cellulose or fiberglass to fill in the crevices more effectively.
- Check ductwork for open joints, dust buildup, mold, and rust. You can reseal open joints with duct tape, but corroded ducts need to be professionally repaired or replaced.
Change the unit's air filters
We recommend checking your AC's air filters monthly and change them every three months for best results. A fresh air filter will diminish indoor contaminants throughout the winter season and ensure proper airflow into your house. Now is an excellent time to install updated high-efficiency, pleated air filters, if you haven't already done so. These feature electrostatic charges to attract particles instead of permitting them to pass through, which filters dust, pollen, mold, and dander more effectively.
Arrange To Have Your Heating System Serviced
Furnace maintenance starts with making a service appointment. At your service appointment, a technician will provide essential cleaning, care, and inspection to your furnace.
Start checking your thermostat
Turn up the thermostat, and listen for the furnace or heating system to kick on and run continuously. If the furnace shuts off within a few minutes, it may be a symptom of short cycling, meaning the thermostat might need to be recalibrated or replaced, or the heat exchanger in the furnace is overheating, and has been shut down by a safety device. If you have a hot-water heating system with a boiler instead of a furnace, turn on the thermostat to let the temperature and pressure build up. Then, check all visible pipes and valves in the boiler room for leaks and standing water. If you find a leak, it's time to call in the pros.
Clean the combustion chamber and blower
The combustion chamber is where the fuel mixes with air and ignites to generate heat, unfortunately also resulting in carbon soot. A buildup of soot can make the chamber walls corrode, so clear it away by scraping it with a small wire brush. Next, vacuum up any loose materials, and examine the chamber for any holes or corrosion before replacing the cover. Next you should vacuum out the area that houses the blower and inspect the blower belt for wear and proper tension signs. A loose belt can slow the blower, endangering your system's performance.
For oil-fired furnaces and boilers, replace the oil filter with an equal one annually. With the fuel supply turned off, you can unscrew the old filter and install the new one. Make sure you dispose of the old filter appropriately. Oil nozzles tend to get clogged with buildup from contaminants in the fuel.
Checking for holes in the exhaust flue is a key step to preventing carbon monoxide leaks, especially where the pipe reaches the furnace. You can patch small holes with foil tape, but corroded flues can't be fixed and must be replaced.
Let Us Worry About Your Furnace
After you complete this critical furnace maintenance checklist, look into how a home warranty can help relieve the stress from unexpected repairs, and keep you and your family and friends warm and cozy all winter long. To find out more, contact us today; we look forward to hearing from you.