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It's easy as 1, 2, 3!!!

by Howell Heating on 11/11/15

With autumn's cooler evening temperatures already creeping in and the predict 20's next week, now is the right time to ensure your furnace is prepared for the winter weather ahead. Getting a head start on winter furnace maintenance can be the difference between a warm, comfortable home this season and dealing with unexpected repairs and bills all winter.

Here are three important winter furnace maintenance tips to help you in preparing your heating system for colder weather:

1) Change Your Furnace Filter.
Forced air furnaces require the use of filters to prevent dust and dirt from blowing throughout your house. They also act as a shield for the machine's complex inner workings, keeping it damage-free. A fresh filter guarantees the best performance.

Changing your filter is a minor, but vital, task. Any furnace with a filter that's excessively dirty has to work much harder than necessary to do its job. A harder working furnace leads to inefficiency, which in turn increases the already-high cost of home heating. Further, a clogged filter could lead to a furnace overheating and shutting down, thus requiring costly repairs.

The best tactic is to check your furnace filter every four weeks during colder months when it's working it's hardest. If the filter is dirty, replace it. The money you save on efficiency and a damage-free system will more than make up for the minor cost of more frequent filter replacements.

2) Keep the Furnace Area Clean and Clear.
This seems obvious, but avoid storing flammable substances or materials near your furnace. Crowding your furnace can lead to unexpected fires, significant damage to your home and danger to your family and pets. However convenient it may seem to simply "store it there" for the summer, consider the chance that you may well forget any items you have left on or near your furnace. Don't take chances: give your furnace the room it needs to operate safely.

Additionally, vacuum and clean regularly around your furnace. While you may have removed any and all flammable items from the area, remember that dust and lint can build up and create a fire hazard. An excess amount of dust and lint can also cause your filter to become clogged sooner than usual, requiring more frequent replacement.

Keeping the area clean and clutter-free is your best bet for the most efficient operation.

3) Pay Attention to Your System.
Another gift you can give your furnace is the benefit of your attention. If you've changed the filter and even had it professionally checked by a qualified HVAC technician, remember that the unexpected can still occur.

For example, during the furnace's initial use every season, it's not uncommon to encounter an odd odor. This is usually resolved by opening a window for a short time while the furnace cycles through its first effort of the year. However, if the smell persists or seems very strong, call a professional. DO NOT take a chance if you even suspect that chemicals or toxins could be circulating in your home. Carbon monoxide, for example, is poisonous and potentially lethal if it is leaking into the living spaces of your home.

Trust the Experts!
These three tips are all easily carried out by most homeowners. However, if you're in doubt of your furnace's health and readiness for the coming cold weather, call Howell Heating. A pre-season furnace cleaning and check-up by a trusted professional can alert you to potential problems or just confirm that your system is healthy and ready for winter. It seems with Google, it is easy to get lulled into the false sense of expertise by clicking on one YouTube video. However, if you are unsure it's best to call us before you potentially damage an expensive part or harm the equipment or even yourself. The comfort and peace of mind of your family and pets are worth taking the steps needed for proper winter furnace maintenance.

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