How to Prepare Your Furnace for Fall

Preparing for cooler temperatures

It is crucial to trust that your furnace will keep the residents of a home warm during the cold winter months. Nobody wants to be enjoying a warm winter evening at home and have something happen with their furnace. In many cases, potential problems may be avoided by taking some essential fall furnace maintenance. Take time now to prepare your heating system to work all winter long!

Furnace winter preparation basics

  • Check thermostat working properly
  • Check and clean ducts
  • Clean chimney if necessary and check carbon monoxide detector
  • Professional heating tune-up

Regularly check and replace filters

It is a good idea to be in a routine of regularly changing or cleaning air conditioning as well as furnace filters. While you may have been negligent in this area, make sure to check your filters before the cold weather arrives. It is essential to know how long before your filters will need to be replaced or cleaned again. Depending on your filter details, you may only need to change it every 90 days, while others will need to be changed once a month. An HVAC system operates most efficiently if its filters are not clogged with debris or dirt. Doing this will provide air that is free of contaminants as well as airborne allergens.


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Remove all clutter from around a furnace

Any clutter around a heating unit needs to be removed. This is an effective way to eliminate the risk of a potential fire hazard. Additionally, clearing any clutter can also help to improve airflow around your furnace.

Clean outside heat pump if necessary

One key reason for fall furnace maintenance is to complete some outdoor tasks during the warm weather and avoid going out into the cold. Should a home have a heat pump, it’s outside portion will need to be checked for signs of damage or debris. The unit can be cleaned by first turning off the power. A hose can then be used to rinse out all the twigs, dirt as well as leaves that have built up during the spring and summer months. Should something be too tricky to remove and is stuck, it could be a sign of damage. This is when an HVAC technician should be contacted.

Place weather-stripping and caulking on doors and windows as necessary

Checking doors and windows for air leaks is an integral part of winterization. Sealing any air leaks makes it possible for cold drafts to come into a home. Weather-stripping and caulking are cost-effective and simple ways to decrease energy waste significantly.

Check that your thermostat is working properly

When a thermostat is not working correctly, it can have an impact on a home’s entire heating and cooling system. It’s vital to turn on a thermostat and determine how well it is responding. If it doesn’t immediately start up, there may be a problem. If a home has a manually controlled thermostat, it may be time to upgrade to a consistent and programmable thermostat. There are also benefits to having a set-back thermostat. This enables a homeowner to control a home’s heat by having it start as well as shut down at specified times. This is more energy-efficient and decreases the wear and tear on an HVAC system as well as extends its life.

Check and clean ducts

It is good to carefully examine the intakes and vents in a house before the arrival of cold weather. There is a good chance they will have a build-up of dust. Fall is the perfect time of year to have a home’s ducts cleaned. Doing this will remove dander & animal hair as well as dirt, dust mites, pollen, and other debris. When it’s cold, time will be spent inside with closed windows and limited circulation of fresh air. This is important if someone is living in a home and suffers from allergies.

Clean chimney if necessary and check carbon monoxide detector

A small animal can make its home in a chimney, which can lead to a build-up of carbon there. These situations could lead to high levels of carbon monoxide being released into a home. A chimney should be inspected by a professional in the fall, and a carbon monoxide detector should also be routinely tested.


Professional heating tune-up

An HVAC technician will thoroughly clean an HVAC system as part of fall furnace maintenance.

  • Heat exchanger: They will safely disable a unit then properly brush and vacuum it. They will also look for any cracks that could cause problems with carbon monoxide.
  • Blower motor: A technician will clean and lubricate the blower motor.
  • Igniter switch: They will also test the igniter switch. An old system could have a pilot light. A newer system will have an electronic igniter.
  • Run system: A technician will let the system run for a few minutes before leaving to be sure it is in good working condition.

Maintain now, and don’t worry in winter

Making sure that a home’s heating system is in good working order during the fall will pay significant benefits when snow and low temperatures arrive. A home’s HVAC system is a machine and requires regular maintenance as part of a home’s winterization. When it is properly maintained, an HVAC system can provide a warm and comfortable home during the entire winter season.

About the author: Richard Overmyer a copywriter and outreach specialist for All Hours Plumbing, plumbing and HVAC specialists in Salt Lake City. He strives to help all his clients make the best decisions to keep their homes a functioning, happy place. When not writing, you can find Richard in the mountains, looking for his next piece of inspiration.

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