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How to Ensure Your Furnace Is Ready for Winter’s Cold Nights

Don’t wait until the last second, or longer, to get your furnace in shape for the long winter. Here’s how to ensure your furnace can handle the stresses of winter and keep you comfortable all season long.
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The cooler nights of September are the perfect reminder to get your furnace ready for the long winter ahead. Any work on HVAC can be intimidating, and professionals should handle most tasks, but there are steps you can take to keep the heat on this winter.

We’ll look at some ways to prep your furnace for winter and the situations that call for expert help. With some preventive maintenance, you’ll be able to stay comfortable no matter how harsh the winter may be.

Do a Test Run

One of the simplest ways to gauge your furnace health is to kick it on for a couple of minutes. Try to run it in the morning or evening when the temperature is lower to avoid making your home too warm.

If it doesn’t kick in quickly, you could have a wiring issue and should call an HVAC professional. If it’s running, check the vents in each area of the house to ensure proper airflow.

Replace Filters

You should already be in the habit of regularly replacing HVAC filters, especially if you have pets or allergies, but if it’s been a while, there’s no better time than now. Dirty filters will lower the efficiency of your system, costing you more on monthly utility costs and potentially creating unsafe breathing conditions.

Test the Igniter

One simple way to diagnose a system that’s failing to start is to test the igniter switch. If your system is old, locate the pilot light and ensure that it’s still lit. If it’s out, try relighting it with the reset or light button.

Your circuit breaker could be tripped as well, causing the pilot to get no spark. Newer systems will almost always require a professional to fix ignition issues, so don’t hesitate to call in backup.

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Safety Features

Fall is the perfect time to make sure your home safety features are ready for the increased risks that winter brings. Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re operating correctly, and replace batteries if you can’t remember the last time you did.

Many models have backup batteries to keep you safe even when the power is out. If new batteries don’t get your alarms running again, you should replace them as soon as possible. These safety features can be invaluable, especially if you use a fireplace or woodstove.

Intake Pipe

Many high-efficiency units come with special intake pipes to help the air supply. In some cases, these intakes can become blocked or clogged, limiting the airflow and significantly reducing efficiency. Get in the habit of checking your intake pipe every fall to keep things running freely.

Perform Upgrades

If you’ve been holding off on a new furnace or upgrading to smart thermostats, the fall months are a great time to do these projects. Technicians are usually busy in the winter with repairs, and getting an installation appointment can be tricky. Plus, thinking about your furnace in the summer months is enough to make anyone sweat.

Try targeting late August or September for any upgrades that need to be performed to your system, as well as any scheduled maintenance. You should find that companies have more availability and can meet your needs without major problems.

Proper maintenance and care of your HVAC system are essential to keep your home comfortable throughout the year. Instead of waiting for a failure to give your system attention, try performing these simple tasks to stay away from problems during the winter months. With some thoughtful planning and timely maintenance, you’ll never have furnace troubles again.

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