3 ways to get your furnace ready for winter
Picture this: The temperature drops, and chilled gusts of wind are sneaking their way through your door every time someone opens it. You decide you've held off long enough -- it's time to turn the heat on. You head over to your thermostat, bare toes frozen on the cold floors, and crank the dial to your preferred temperature (somewhere in the 70s, of course). You get all settled on the couch and wait for that sweet warmth to start pouring through your ducts or vents and then... nothing; your house remains ice cold, and now you need to take time out of your busy life to arrange for furnace repairs.
This is a worst case scenario situation, but, fortunately, it can be prevented! Fall is only just beginning, so you have plenty of time to attend to that all-important furnace before it's unequivocally needed. Here are three things you can do ahead of time to stop this worst-case scenario from becoming reality.
Schedule a maintenance check. No matter what kind of HVAC system you own, it's vital that you get it cleaned and inspected before you begin using it. In fact, HVAC air filters should be changed every three months to maximize efficiency, so hiring someone to take a look at your heating unit kills two birds with one stone. Maintenance professionals can service your unit while they're cleaning it, ensuring that it is functioning at full capacity and not posing any safety risks. Plus, it's important to remember that winter is one of their busiest times -- by arranging an appointment before winter hits, you won't have to wait weeks for them to squeeze you in.
Inspect your furnace chimney. If your furnace's exhaust exits your home through a chimney, you're going to want to make sure there are no blockages present, such as built up soot, debris -- even bird's nests. Blockages can be as dangerous as they are annoying, increasing your risk of fire and exposure to exhaust fumes (which are laden with carcinogens).
Clear the burners of dust and debris. Since your furnace goes unused in the summer, it's common (and expected) to see dust collect along the burners. Take the time to clear the area, and be sure to keep an eye out for rust or misalignment of the burners.
With proper care and maintenance ahead of time, you won't need to worry about needing to repair your furnace this coming winter.