Tips to Prepare Your Furnace For Winter

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When the leaves start turning, it’s time to check that your furnace is ready. The last thing that anyone wants is to turn on the furnace on the first cold night of the year and find that it’s not working. HVAC technicians at Bloomington Heating & Air see this happen every year. Follow these tips so you don’t spend a night shivering under a blanket waiting on emergency furnace repair services.

Change The Furnace Filter

The simplest way to keep your furnace functioning properly is to change the filters often. HVAC technicians recommend that homeowners swap out the filter every few months. People with pets or allergies may want to change their filters slightly more often. A dirty filter allows dirt, dust, and other debris into your system, which will increase wear and tear on the system, leading to a higher chance of breakdowns and negatively impacting indoor air quality. Dirty air filters also block the airflow, meaning the warm air is obstructed from flowing freely into the vents.

Clean Around The Furnace

Before turning on the heat for the first time, clear the area around the furnace, air ducts, and return vents, especially flammable objects like boxes of clothes. These can create a safety hazard as well as restrict airflow. Check that the vents and registers are open, and vacuum in and around them to clear away any dust and debris. Blocked vents drive heating up, increasing the risk of an overheated furnace.

Check The Furnace Chimney

Check inside the furnace’s chimney for obstructions such as bird’s nests or a significant soot buildup. These blockages can become extremely dangerous fire hazards. If it’s been a while since the furnace chimney was last inspected, consider hiring a professional to check and clean it.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

The key to avoiding emergency furnace repairs is regular HVAC maintenance. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong, have the HVAC system inspected once or twice a year to keep it running efficiently and to catch potential issues before they become a full-blown emergency.

Get Started Early

When the weather starts to turn cooler, ensure the furnace is working by switching the thermostat from cooling to heating and setting the temperature a few degrees higher than the temperature of the room. The heat should kick on within a minute or so. If it doesn’t, it’s time to put in a call to the local heating repair service.

Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This is a good time to test your carbon monoxide detectors. A malfunctioning furnace can release carbon monoxide, which is deadly in large quantities, so it is best to be prepared.

Signs Of Furnace Problems

When a furnace displays any of the following signs of trouble, it’s time for a visit from the local furnace repair technician. 

  • Unusual noises such as rattling or a high-pitched noise like a tuning fork;
  • Odors such as gas, oil, burning, an electrical odor, or musty smell from the furnace area;
  • The furnace isn’t heating; or
  • The furnace runs constantly without turning off.

If a furnace is over a certain age, it may be time for a furnace replacement. In Minnesota, most furnaces last around 15 years, and some only last 12 years. Our skilled HVAC technicians can help you decide when it’s time for a new furnace and help choose a system that works for you. Contact us today to schedule heating maintenance for the winter months to come.

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