It may be sad, but it’s a reality that the summer months are now drawing to a close. This means it’s that time of year – time to start thinking about preparing your home for the cold months ahead. Starting this preparation now can help you avoid many last-minute headaches that come along with heating system problems, troubleshooting and maintenance. Certainly one of the items to check off the winter preparation list is making sure your furnace is in proper working order and ready to maximize its own efficiency and performance.
Regular maintenance of your furnace, even in months when it is not in heavy use, can help ensure longevity of the system. This can save homeowners big in the long run – in terms of money, stress and time. It’s true that it’s very easy to ignore your furnace when it is working properly. Many times homeowners don’t pay any attention to the heating system until something goes wrong, which can be a stressful and potential dangerous situation. By properly caring for and preparing your furnace for the winter months ahead, you’ll avoid a troublesome, horribly timed mishap during a cold winter day or night.
So, what are the proper steps to maintaining and preparing your furnace?
1. First, it’s imperative that you make sure the air filter is changed regularly. Energy Star recommends changing your filter at least every 3 months. There are some filters that don’t require replacement as often, but be sure to know the recommendation for your particular brand and type of filters. Regularly changing the filters will help keep your system running cleanly and efficiently.
2. Next, it’s a great idea to check all connections and “moving parts” on the furnace. Just because the furnace sits still in one place in your basement doesn’t mean connections and parts can’t loosen or even come undone. Checking all connections – electrical, gas or air/vent related will let you know whether or not you have to repair any problems. Pay specific and careful attention to any gas lines or connections. Faulty gas connections can be a health hazard to those in your home and can potentially be extremely dangerous. It’s often a good idea to have regular inspections done by a contractor or your gas provider to ensure maximum safety.
3. It’s also a great idea to check the thermostat setting on your furnace. In order to stay comfortable, many homeowners tend to change the thermostat setting during different times of the year. Finding the “sweet spot” between comfort and energy savings prior to each season is highly recommended.