It never fails. On the first day of frigid temperatures, the furnace decides it doesn’t want to work. It’s one of those things we forget about until we really need it. Today is the day that all changes…this is our day to check and prep the furnace, so when Old Man Winter comes knocking at the door, we’ll all be snuggled warmly in our homes.
Replace the air filter.
The air filter keeps the air clean inside your home, so it’s extremely important to change the filter regularly to prevent dust and other allergens from blowing into the air and making your family sick. Think about upgrading to a pleated filter or a HEPA filter for better filtration and energy efficiency.
Inspect the blower fan belt.
Turn the power off to the furnace through the main circuit breaker and remove the cover to see the fan belt. Look for cracking, glazing or fraying to the belt and replace it if needed.
Vacuum the outdoor condenser unit.
While the power is still off, head outside. Take off the steel cover to the air handler and lay it down gently with the fan blades up. Carefully vacuum the coils and fan blades to remove all of the dust and debris that has accumulated.
Check outdoor exhaust flue.
This is a good time to check the outdoor exhaust flue and clean out any leaves, branches or animal nests that may be obstructing the air flow.
Vacuum air vents and ducts.
Even with clean, filtered air, dust, lint and cobwebs still form in your air vents. Move furniture and obstructions from all of your vents and vacuum them out using the extension hose.
*You may also consider vacuuming the furnace itself, especially near the base and burners. Make sure you TURN OFF THE GAS before doing this so you don’t start a fire.
Examine your thermostat.
Change the batteries in your thermostat to get a fresh start for the colder months. If you have an older thermostat, this may be a great time to update to a programmable unit. Newer models allow you to set various temperature ranges during different times of the day and week which will automatically adjust the temperature to accommodate when your family is home or away. Not only does this conserve energy, it saves money.
By running down this checklist, you can ensure that your home will be ready for the changing seasons. Keep in mind, there still may be other things that need to be checked, tuned-up or even fixed. If you feel that your furnace needs a little more inspection, then contact a qualified HVAC technician. It’s always better to be prepared, than left out in the cold.