Preparation Makes Perfect For Your Furnace

Preparation is the key to success in most areas of life. When it comes to your home's furnace, making sure it's ready to tackle winter weather before the severe cold and snow arrives is a smart move. Read on to learn how you can preserve your home's comfort by prepping your furnace for wintertime work.

Preparation Tips for All Furnaces

No matter what type of furnace you own, you can use these tips to prepare it for the upcoming winter:

  • Clear your furnace of dust and debris. Give your furnace's outer cabinet a thorough wipe-down and use a vacuum to pick up debris surrounding the unit, then carefully remove dust and debris from the blower fan blades and blower housing.
  • Check and replace the air filters. Replace your air filter with a fresh example when it becomes caked with debris.
  • Check and clean the vents. Dust or vacuum trapped debris from your home's supply and return air registers.
  • Reprogram your thermostat. Make sure your thermostat is set according to your wintertime preferences.

Tips for Gas and Oil Furnaces

If you have a furnace that relies on natural gas, propane or heating oil, there are a few special tips to keep in mind as you prepare your furnace for the months ahead:

  • Inspect your fuel delivery systems. Check all gas and oil lines for leaks and have them repaired immediately, and make sure fuel tanks have enough fuel available.
  • Check and clean the burners. Use a wire brush and vacuum to remove any caked-on or burnt debris from the burner tubes and burners.
  • Check the ignition system. Check the overall condition of the pilot, thermocouple, and surface igniter (if your furnace uses electronic ignition).
  • Inspect the heat exchanger. Have your HVAC specialist perform a thorough inspection of the heat exchanger for cracks, severe rust or other flaws that could allow carbon monoxide (CO) gases to potentially escape.
  • Check the exhaust flue. Check for signs of rust, corrosion, or physical damage and replace as necessary.

Tips for Electric Furnaces

Whereas gas and oil-fired furnaces use burners to produce heat, electric furnaces rely on a series of heating elements to get the job done. Fortunately, these components are relatively simple to inspect and troubleshoot.

Check the heating element and make sure it activates as your furnace turns on. If the heating element doesn't work, check the circuit breakers and make sure they weren't tripped due to excessive power draw. If the breakers continue to trip, ask your furnace repair specialist to inspect and, if necessary, replace the heating element.