The colder fall and winter months are approaching, which means it’s time to ensure the furnace is ready to use without issues. Getting a professional furnace tune-up is a great way to ensure it works correctly or to catch any problems before they get out of hand.
The experts at ESCO Heating, AC, Plumbing & Electrical provided a pre-season checklist to conduct before scheduling your furnace tune-up. These actions can help you save money on furnace repairs and will ensure that your home stays toasty all season long.
Test Your Thermostat
Before those freezing temperatures roll in, you may want to turn on the furnace to see if it’s even working. Adjust the thermostat a few degrees higher than the average room temperature. This should trigger your furnace to kick on, and that’s when any potential issues will arise.
First, listen to hear if the furnace kicks on. If not, there’s likely a problem, and you should follow up with these steps:
- Double-check that the power is on
- Ensure that the wire connections are secure
- Check the fan blower and heat pumps to ensure they’re working
If any issue occurs, call a heating service company to diagnose and repair it. Alternatively, you could upgrade to a smart thermostat. These systems make it easy to set temperature schedules, and their energy-efficient capabilities help reduce your electric bill over time.
Clean the Heat Exchanger
Cleaning the furnace’s heat exchanger is vital to keeping the system running smoothly. Without proper maintenance and upkeep, parts are at risk of degradation or failure.
Inspect the heat exchanger to see if it reaches the correct temperature. If needed, call a trained professional to clean the heat exchanger. Or you can do it yourself by following these simple steps:
- Turn off the power source
- Access the heat exchanger
- Remove any dirt and debris
- Wipe down the tubes with soapy water and dry them
- Take out the heat exchanger
- Clean it with fresh water and a dip brush, scouring the inside and exchanger tubes
Hire a professional to brush the heat exchanger annually to avoid breakdowns. A malfunctioning or broken heat exchanger costs more to repair than a furnace tune-up.
Change the Air Filter
How long has it been since you last changed the furnace air filter? Checking and replacing the air filter is a simple, cost-effective way to keep the furnace in good shape. The furnace filter helps prevent microorganisms and other pathogens from entering your home. So routinely changing the air filter every 30-90 days may reduce the effects of seasonal allergies and asthma.
In addition to keeping the home’s air clean, air filter maintenance extends the furnace’s life. Exchanging a dirty filter out for a clean one allows the furnace to heat faster and mitigates the amount of dust inside your home.
Conversely, clogged, dirty filters cause the system to work harder. Thus, it uses more energy, produces poor circulation within the home, and puts more wear and tear on the unit.
Inspect the Chimneys & Vents
Ensure the vents, grills, and chimney are all cleaned, uncovered, and free of blockages. Congested vents prevent your home from getting as warm as possible. Additionally, some blockages are fire hazards.
Wiping the vent’s grill with a wet cloth removes built-up debris. However, chimneys require a bit more work since they are rarely used in warmer months.
As fall and winter draw near, it’s vital to rid your chimney of soot and debris build-up. Also, ensure no small animals have nested within it since last winter. This process eliminates obstructions and decreases the risk of a fire.
Test Alarms & Detectors
Smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors are crucial safety equipment, especially during the winter.
You should replace all alarms and detectors every ten years, according to the U.S Fire Administration. Additionally, the organization recommends checking them regularly to ensure they’re in proper working condition to minimize risks.
Clean the Furnace’s Burners
Everyone immediately recognizes the burning smell that comes from a furnace when using it after it’s been dormant for months. This scent is due to the dust that’s settled on the furnace’s burners over the summer months.
Simply wiping the burners down before turning your furnace on for the first time will avoid this issue. While you’re at it, check for misaligned parts or rust, as this requires professional assistance.
Check the Oil Blower
Oil blowers blow heat into the rooms of the house via the air duct system. However, this integral component is at risk of disrepair once it’s been unused for months.
Your professional heating company will inspect your oil blower’s condition during the furnace tune-up process. Most likely, your technician will lubricate it to help it work in top condition.
Prioritize Cleaning & Organizing
As more leaves are hitting the ground during fall, the potential for HVAC system problems increases. This debris can enter your unit and end up causing severe damage to your furnace.
Take a proactive approach by cleaning your outdoor space, and pay special attention to areas surrounding any HVAC components. Additionally, consider trimming any bushes or trees near the system. Finally, inspect the inner workings of your furnace and clear out any built-up debris.
Schedule a Professional Furnace Tune-Up
The most beneficial action you can take on your pre-season checklist is to have a trusted HVAC company inspect your system. A furnace tune-up ensures your unit is in good working order and brings any problems to light. That way, you won’t be caught off-guard by a sudden furnace breakdown during the dead of winter.
Heating companies are often at their busiest during the winter. So, scheduling a professional furnace tune-up gives you time to conduct any needed heater repairs before the temperature plummets. Plus, it’ll give your family the peace of mind that they’ll remain warm all winter.
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