Winter is Coming! How to Prepare Your Furnace for the Cold

Winters can be challenging to furnaces here, putting a great strain on them if they are not maintained properly. With a few basic steps – all of which can be done by the homeowner – your HVAC can be kept running efficiently, and you can avoid the costly chore of having it replaced.

First Things First!

Imagine turning on the furnace the first cold day only to discover that it doesn’t work. That happens with surprising frequency! Start by turning on your furnace, first making sure nothing flammable is near it. Pay attention to anything unusual, like noises or smells, that indicate serious problems. There will often be a brief but noticeable burning-dust smell when it’s first blowing after being dormant a few months, which is normal. Also note if it cycles normally.

Next, Some Easy Maintenance

Turn off the power to the unit before any maintenance! Then replace the filter; most experts recommend a monthly changeout. A dirty filter reduces airflow and puts unnecessary stress on your blower. Also clean out your vents with a vacuum to remove dust and foreign objects.

Now check the blower belt for cracks, looseness or excessive wear. Most blower motors should also be lubricated at least once a year. Also check the ignitor switch and pilot light on the HVAC. Then clean out the heat exchanger with a vacuum, and (once you are done with it for the season) cover the outside AC condenser. Finally, inspect the flue or chimney to make sure there are no obstructions or too much buildup.

The Early Bird Saves Money

Air filters can often be bought at discounted prices in warm weather. Summer is also an ideal time to purchase your heating fuel, as the prices skyrocket in cold weather. Having a professional inspect and maintain your HVAC in the summer may also save money.

The Bottom Line

A happy furnace makes a happy family, at least in northern Illinois! Performing some basic maintenance will improve the airflow, function and longevity of your HVAC and help prevent cold nights huddled around a space heater. Visit website.

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