Turning on your furnace after having it off for several months can sometimes lead to the unwelcome surprise of it being inoperable. This is not a situation to find yourself in once the cold season has begun. Finding a service technician that can squeeze you in once it is already cold can be a bit more challenging than it would have been back in the fall, since many people in your community may be having the same type of issue. In order to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe and not have to contend with Denver’s freezing temperatures while you are inside and should be comfortable, let’s look at how you should be preparing for the winter.
Checking Your Furnace Filter
The first thing you are going to want to do ahead of the winter months is check your furnace’s filter. A large amount of dust can collect on the filter, and an easy way to help make sure that your furnace can combat the cold is to replace its filter. Well, before you even turn on your heat for the winter, take the time to swap out your old filter for one of the better ones on the market. It is recommended that your furnace filter be replaced at least once every three months. To keep your furnace in tip-top condition, however, you should inspect the filter monthly and replace it as soon as it is needed.
Running Your Heat Briefly in the Fall
Another thing you should do is make sure that your furnace is running before you actually need it. To do this, turn on your furnace during the fall, running it above the room temperature of your home. While doing this, you will also want to look out for any strange noises or suspicious odors.
When you first turn on your furnace after a period of inactivity, there could be an initial burning smell. This smell could be the burning off of dust or debris that has settled in the system during its inactivity. If this is the culprit of the burning smell, then it should dissipate within a few minutes to a few hours.
If you notice the smell of burning electrical wiring or plastic, this is not normal. In cases like this, it is best to have a professional take a look at your system as quickly as possible. If you notice any strange noises that do not go away, you will want to notify a professional about this as well.
Installing a New Thermostat
Another thing to consider before heading into the winter is whether you need a new thermostat. Some houses come with thermostats that are out-of-date and that should be replaced with a more modern, energy-efficient one. Doing this will help ensure that the temperature stays where it should be. This is especially important if you have elderly family members or children living with you who might take it upon themselves to try to make adjustments to a thermostat or the furnace itself when you are not home and they are cold.
Check the Pilot Light
If you test your furnace and it seems like it isn’t working, it could be something as simple as a pilot light. Making sure that your pilot light is on so that you can use your furnace when you need it is generally as simple as relighting it by flame or with an ignitor button. If doing something like this is beyond your comfort level or if it turns out that you are unable to get the pilot light relit, make sure to have a professional do it for you.
Remove Any Dangerous Debris
It is possible that during the months that the furnace has been off, someone in your household has decided that near the furnace is a good place for storage. You are going to want to check around the furnace for any potential fire hazards that may have been placed nearby during the months that the unit was not being utilized. This is important to do before you even test your furnace during the fall so that any risk of accidents occurring is kept to a minimum for the safety of you and your loved ones.
Examine the Circuit Breaker
If you test your furnace during the fall and it is not running, have a look at your home’s circuit breaker. The switch may have been turned off by someone who recently did a repair or for some other reason. If your circuit box is not easily accessible or you have no experience with a circuit box, contact a professional to check it out for you.
Check Your Detectors
An important thing to do in order to make sure that you and your family are safe ahead of the upcoming winter is to make sure that all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. A furnace that is faulty could potentially release carbon monoxide into the air that you and your family breathe. This gas could be extremely dangerous, and breathing too much of it can create a major health risk. A furnace that is not working correctly could also cause a fire. Take the time to check all of your detectors, and if it seems like any of them are not operating correctly, first change out the batteries for new ones. If they still do not work after that, get replacements or even updated models.
Call a Professional for an Inspection
Even if you do everything listed above to prepare for the winter, none of them are substitutes for having a routine inspection of your furnace by a licensed professional. At the bare minimum, you should be receiving a routine inspection annually. However, it is best for you to have routine maintenance done twice a year, once in the spring and once in advance of the winter. A typical inspection will include a visual inspection of the main system, verification of peak operating performance, checking thermostat settings, inspecting connections, testing voltage, changing the filter, checking for obstructions, and lubricating the moving parts. An inspection will help make sure that your furnace as well as your HVAC are ready to tackle the colder and warmer months, as well as provide you and your loved ones with safety and comfort.
At Summit Heating & A/C, we have been providing heating and cooling services to the people of Denver, CO and the surrounding areas for over twenty years. Not only do we do routine maintenance on furnaces, but our services cover the full range of heating and cooling solutions for our customers. This includes repairs, installations, and everything in between. Our award-winning company also provides emergency services to make sure that you get the help you need when you need it. If you want to make sure that your furnace is ready for the winter and that you and your family are safe, give our team a call today.