Getting a furnace ready for winter is a fairly simple process that most homeowners can complete on their own without the involvement of an HVAC professional, in most cases.
Depending on the style, age, and features of your furnace, there are some other ‘winterizing’ steps that may need to be taken, but for the most part, the tips in this article area relevant to furnaces that heat a single family-sized home or other, average-sized residential building.
There are three main aspects of furnace operation that are important when it comes to preparing for the colder months:
- Proper functioning. Is the furnace actually working in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications? Or, are there malfunctions that could result in a system shutdown?
- Safety. Because furnaces rely on natural gas or electricity to produce significant amounts of heat, safety is very important. A short in the electrical system or a corroded gas pipe could pose a potential safety risk.
- Energy efficiency. It’s a general rule that the older a furnace is, the less energy efficient it’s likely to be. Even still, 10- or 20-year-old furnaces require maintenance to get the most out of the technology that existed at the time they were built.
By taking the necessary steps to prepare your furnace for winter, you’ll be ensuring that your home is ready to withstand the cool temperatures just around the corner. And, in Colorado, we know just how chilly the weather can get!
Follow These Steps to Get Your Furnace Ready
You know you need to get your furnace ready for winter; so, how do you do it?
Keep in mind that nothing compares to the value and peace-of-mind that is provided by an on-site visit from an HVAC technician from Front Range HVAC. If you suspect that your furnace may have a significant issue that a trip to the hardware store isn’t going to resolve, we highly suggest scheduling a visit from one of our furnace technicians to help determine what exactly is going on.
For standard, routine furnace winter preparation, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Inspect all of the air filters and replace them if necessary. For most furnaces, air filters need to be changed every three months. For higher capacity units with higher BTU ratings, the filter changing frequency can be as short as a month.
If you’re unsure how long it’s been since your last furnace air filter change, just inspect the filter. If it looks especially clogged with dirt, debris, or pet dander, it’s probably time to change it out in preparation for winter.
Step 2: Ensure that the area near the furnace is clear of materials. It’s easy to use the utility closet as a repository for things we don’t use often. If there are household items that are sitting on or near your furnace, relocate them.
This is especially important for materials that could catch fire (never store flammable liquids or combustible materials in the vicinity of your furnace!).
Step 3: For gas-powered furnaces, ensure that your gas supply is on and supplying the furnace with the fuel it needs to operate effectively. This may require a phone call to the gas company.
This doesn’t apply to electric furnaces.
Step 4: For radiant heat systems that use boilers to distribute hot water to heating appliances throughout the building, locate the bleed valves and use them to remove air bubbles within the water transmission lines.
To do this, simply open the bleed valves until water starts to appear, and then close them. Because air isn’t as good as water in conducting thermal energy, it needs to be eliminated from the radiant heat system as much as possible.
Step 5: For complicated furnace issues that require specialized tools or advanced expertise to resolve, contact Front Range HVAC and schedule an on-site visit. If your furnace is making strange sounds like clunking, grinding, or “coughing”, don’t try to fix it yourself. You could very well end up making things worse!
Instead, call Front Range HVAC today and have one of our experienced HVAC professionals diagnose the issue and make some expert recommendations so you’re ready for whatever the Colorado winter weather has in store for us.
Have questions about your furnace? Want to know more about things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home’s heating system? Don’t let a furnace issue turn into a furnace disaster! Get in touch with us today—our team is standing by, ready to help with all of your HVAC-related needs.