Getting your heating system or furnace working well before the cold sets up helps keep your family warm, safe, and comfortable when winter comes. You don’t want to be stuck with a furnace that has trouble heating when the snow starts falling, do you?
The majority of households in the UK depend on a central furnace to provide heat during the winter season. A furnace works by blowing heated air through ducts that provide warm air to rooms throughout the house through air registers. This type of heating system is called a forced-warm air distribution system and can be powered by electricity, natural gas, or fuel oil.
In this article, let’s look at the different ways to prepare your furnace for the winter.
What to do to prepare the furnace?
Don’t wait for the winter to come before checking on your furnace. The following are the essential ways you can prepare your furnace.
Change your filters
If your furnace has utilized disposable filters, make sure to change them every 1-3 months unless you have an annual filter. When the climate is dusty and dry, you may need to frequently change your filters in the summer. Every air filter is assigned a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating report that tells how effectively it traps airborne particles, using a scale of 1-16. The higher the rating, the more efficient your filter is. So, try to check the MERV rating of your filter and follow the directions regarding the frequency of filter change. Filters with very high MERV ratings are not advisable as they can restrict airflow.
Clear the Air Vents and Pipes
Vents can collect dirt and dust over time which restricts the airflow. If not cleaned, this dirt could spread throughout your home once the hot air blows. Make sure you clean the vents, pipes, and openings of your furnace. Turn off your HVAC system and unscrew air duct covers, vents, and air filters. Dirty covers require soap and water for cleaning before drying them out. You can use your vacuum to clean as much of the vent as possible. Heavy-duty vacuum cleaners are more effective to reach deeper into the vents.
Test Your Furnace
The last thing you want to happen is discover your furnace is broken just in time for the winter. So, as part of the preparation, test your furnace. Switch it on before the temperature drops ultimate and check for abnormal signs such as loud noises, cold spots in the house, and thermostat discrepancies. Each room should reach a comfortable temperature without issue.
Avoid Fire Hazards
Declutter your heating unit to avoid fire hazards. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries if necessary. Get the help of a qualified technician to perform full system checks and maintenance. Making sure your furnace is safe during the winter season will avoid unexpected mishaps.
If you have an oil-powered furnace, replace your filter and nozzle and check the tank level. Unlike gas-fired and electric fire systems, oil units require oil filter changes because it doesn’t burn cleanly as gas.
Also check your chimneys, if applicable. Since they can house carbon build-up and small animals, they need to be cleaned to prevent fire accidents.
Furnace Tune-up Checklist for Winter
Are you ready for the winter season? Before winter comes, we recommend knowing the furnace tune-up checklist. This checklist covers the vital maintenance care your heating system requires every year.
- Lubricate motor bearings and other moving parts
- Check the fan belt tension and adjust accordingly
- Check the voltage and current
- Tight all electrical connections to your furnace (applicable for electric furnaces)
- Inspect and clean chimneys for gas-powered furnace
- Make sure your carbon dioxide detector is functioning
- Inspect the heat exchanger
- Test the exhaust system
- Inspect and clean the burner
- Test the ignition system and system controls
- Vacuum the interior and exterior of your furnace
- Change the air filter
- Calibrate the thermostat
Many homeowners overlook the furnace tune-up checklist. What you may not know is that furnaces can wear and tear throughout the years of heating. Operation puts stress on the component, which eventually decreases their performance as time goes by. This decreases its reliability and efficiency. Even though you didn’t notice any issues in the past years, annual routine maintenance is ideal for your furnace.
It helps evaluate the health of your furnace and detect problems earlier before it goes out of hand. Moreover, unkempt furnaces experience more repair and don’t last as long as those that are annually maintained.
6 Warning Signs Your Furnace is Failing
The furnace is one of the vital components of an AC that is prone to malfunctioning. If it is not working to full capacity, it can a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Imagine dealing with a jammed furnace in the middle of the winter season. Knowing the telltale signs your furnace is failing helps you provide for timely intervention.
- Your furnace is blowing cold air in particular spots in different rooms or throughout your entire house. This issue could be related to a malfunctioning moto that makes equipment have inadequate power to heat the room.
- There are unusual loud noises in your HVAC component during operation. An unfamiliar noise could be a sign that your furnace is overworking. Instead of making guesses, get it checked by an expert to prevent unnecessary replacement costs.
- Your furnace is 20 years old or more. Old furnaces will already require replacement over time to prevent fire accidents.
- You often suffer from allergies whenever your furnace is turned on. An improperly controlled furnace exhaust can cause harmful gas to build up. For example, when your furnace’s heat exchange is cracked or when there’s carbon dioxide leakage, it can lead to adverse health effects for your family members.
- Your energy bill is rising. Heating and cooling in homes account for 1/6 of all residential electricity use. If your energy bill is rising, it could be more likely caused by a failing heating system. Hiring a professional technician to look at it could be helpful.