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How to Prep Your Furnace for Winter

Furnace cleaning technician in basement beside HVAC equipment

The year just flies by, doesn’t it? With the kids already back at school and Halloween on the horizon, it won’t be long before the weather really starts to get cold here in Arvada. It’s right around now that we start relying on our HVAC system to provide us with the heat that will keep us nice and toasty.

Before the really cold weather arrives, it’s a good idea to have a health check done on your furnace and take care of any HVAC cleaning that’s necessary. It’s better to find out about any problems now rather than in the depths of winter. Getting Your Furnace Ready for Action: Steps to Take Most of the following steps are fairly straightforward, but if you feel unsure at any moment, they might be better left to a professional.

First Things First – Turn on the Thermostat

The first thing you want to do is to check whether your furnace has any problems in turning on. You can do this simply by turning the thermostat on and setting it at a higher temperature than the current temperature of your home’s interior. Within a minute or so it should kick into action. If it doesn’t, further investigation might be necessary.

Loose wiring could be to blame. If you pull the thermostat cover off, have a look at the connections to make sure everything is ok there. Another obvious thing you’ll want to check is whether the HVAC unit is plugged in and the power is set to “on”. If at this point your furnace still doesn’t show any signs of life, it may be wise to call out a professional technician to take a look.

Check Filters and Change If Necessary

This is one of the most important tasks that a homeowner can do. Your HVAC system is fitted with an air filter that filters out harmful contaminants to improve the air quality inside your home. But they need to be kept in good condition so that they can continue to do their job. If you have a fiberglass filter, you will likely need to replace it after a month, while pleated filters last a bit longer and should be replaced every 2-3 months.

This also protects the long-term health of your furnace. A filter that's in good condition puts less stress on the furnace, so its components are not worked as hard and last longer.

If you need any advice on when and how to change your air filter, just ask our HVAC cleaning pros. We’d be happy to help.

Schedule Air Duct Cleaning

Air ducts and vents are vitally important to the efficiency of your HVAC system. They absolutely must be kept clean and free of blockages. The period just before winter is a great time to schedule a professional air vent and air duct cleaning, and give it some TLC.

During this session, all dust and dirt will be pulled out of the ductwork using commercial grade equipment to ensure that not only does your furnace distribute warmth around the home, but the air quality of your home is also kept in check.

Heat Exchanger Should Be Cleaned

This is not something that should be done by the average homeowner, but it’s a vital step to have completed once per year. A trained HVAC cleaning pro can deep clean and carefully inspect the condition of the heat exchanger. Cracks can result in carbon monoxide leaks, so this is not something you want to gloss over.

Add Lubrication to the Blower Motor

Not all blower motors are created equal. They don't all need lubricating. If you're not sure whether yours does, have a look at the instruction manual, as it should provide some guidance. If it does, make sure the unit is not connected to power, remove the covers and apply lubricant to the bearings, wiping away any excess.

Is the Ignition Switch Working?

Older furnaces require you to manually light the pilot light. On a newer furnace, it should have electric ignition. Is it working? If nothing seems to be happening, try hitting the restarter button to see if that does anything. If there's still nothing, this is going to be a repair that you'll want to leave to a professional.

Two Other Important Prep Checks to Do

What we’re about to say is nothing revolutionary, but often the simple steps that we take are the ones that make a difference.

  • Clear the Area Surrounding Your Furnace – When it’s not been used for many months, it’s not uncommon for the area surrounding the furnace to become a sort of storage depot for the various odds and ends around the house that don’t have a proper home. A cluttered furnace is a serious fire hazard. Make sure this clutter finds a new home before you start using your furnace.
  • Clear Air Vents – It’s also wise to do a sweep of the house and check for obstructions that might be blocking air vents. These obstructions will make it harder for your furnace to do its job and will place it under additional pressure. It’s quite common to see furniture blocking vents.

Prevention is Better than the Cure – Call Steve’s Air Duct Cleaning

Now is the perfect time to call our team to do a deep dive on your furnace. We offer furnace cleaning, air duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and a whole lot more. If there are any problems with your heating system, we’ll find them well before the Arvada winter comes knocking.

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