Preparing to Use Your Gas Furnace for the First Time in the Winter

It can be shocking when cold weather arrives after many warm fall days. Turning on the heat is a normal reaction, but it might not be the best thing to do. Many homeowners have HVAC systems that have not been serviced as recommended. Ideally, heating maintenance should occur before the winter. However, busy lifestyles or oversight can result in this important home maintenance task getting completed. The following points identify a few things you can do if you have not had maintenance performed for the new winter season and need to use your heat. 

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Some homes have hardwired carbon monoxide detectors, and others have battery-operated devices. Some models have both features. You can check to see if yours is working by checking the "test" button on the unit. Every home with appliances fueled by gas should have carbon monoxide detectors located near the appliances. 

Change Your Air Filter

This can aid in ensuring that clean air circulates through your home. It can also benefit energy efficiency. Gas furnaces operate using combustion. Dirty filters air filters are a safety hazard. A clogged filter can lead to a furnace fire. Another potential issue is the interior part of the furnace overheating and causing mechanical failure. Some newer furnaces have safety features designed to safeguard against this type of issue.

Check Your Vents 

This is something you can do to ensure that you get warm air properly circulating through your home. Check for closed vents. You also need to check to see if furniture or other objects are blocking vents and restricting airflow. Do not overlook your registers, which are the vents positioned in your flooring.

Get an Inspection 

Even if your heat appears to be working properly, an inspection needs to be done. Inspections occur during routine maintenance services. If your furnace is still under warranty, you are likely required to get preventative services such as maintenance performed. Inspections can help identify operational issues. Sometimes HVAC systems get dirty and require cleaning. The cleaning improves indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Inspections can also help determine if your system has failing parts or is nearing the end of its lifespan. Some homeowners decide to continue with their older HVAC systems after their warranties expire. An HVAC contractor might recommend replacing your system if they identify issues. Sometimes the probability of future repairs costs makes it sensible to invest in a new system that will be covered by warranty.