When the breezes become a little cooler across the Rocky Mountains, you know it’s about time for autumn to roll in. Fall is the perfect time of year to check in on important HVAC components of your home, such as your furnace for some simple maintenance. You want to complete a full furnace tune-up while it is still fall, especially in Colorado, as you never know when we will experience the first major snow storm of the year.
Preparing for the winter is always a smart idea, especially when it comes to the appliance supplying the heat! The last thing you want to have to deal with is a broken furnace in the middle of a Colorado winter. Here’s a quick guide for you to utilize to prep your home for the winter.
Inspect the Room That Has Your Furnace
The first and most basic thing you can do is to make sure the room where your furnace is located is clean and conducive to a functioning furnace. For many home owners, the room where the furnace is located is in a storage room. It’s important that you don’t cover your furnace, or have objects blocking the furnace or pilot lights. Once you’ve ensured that the area surrounding your furnace is clean, vacuum the outside surface of your furnace to remove any cobwebs or dirt.
Clean or Replace the Air Filter
The next crucial step in preparing your HVAC system for winter is to clean or replace the air filter located in the furnace. This is something that you should typically do about every 30 days, so if you haven’t done it in a while, now is the perfect time. If you don’t clean or replace the filter prior to winter, you run the risk of higher energy bills because the house will take longer to heat.
Cleaning or replacing the filter is very easy. First, vacuum the floor around the furnace. Next, you want to locate the access panel. This is usually on the front or lower side of the furnace. Make sure the furnace is off and then open the service panel. Once you’ve removed the panel, you will see a framed rectangular screen or mesh that was inserted either horizontally or vertically. Slide out the screen and check it for dust and dirt build up. If the filter is cardboard or paper, just toss it and replace it with a new one. If you have a metal or plastic filter in your furnace, you can wash it off with the hose, but make sure it’s dry before you put it back in.
Inspect the Ducts and Vents
Now you want to move on to checking the ducts and vents around your home to ensure that they have good ventilation. Start by wiping down each vent. Then, if necessary, unscrew off the vent, or remove the vent from the floor, and vacuum in and around the vent. You want to make sure that the warm air flowing through your home isn’t obstructed by anything and that it’s flowing effectively.
Check your Thermostat: Consider Installing a Programmable Thermostat
Another aspect to the heating of your home is the thermostat. You want to have a programmable one for sure. If you don’t, you may want to consider upgrading to one before the winter. A programmable thermostat will enable you to program the heater to be on when your home, and lower the temp when you’re sleeping or away. This will help save on heating bills and give you piece of mind that you’re not wasting heat while you aren’t home.
Inspect Your Windows and Doors for Proper Sealants
The last thing you want to do to prepare your HVAC system for winter is to check your windows and doors for air leaks. The last thing you want to do is have your heat on all winter and have cold air coming in. Go around all the door and window frames in your home and feel for any air coming in around the perimeter. If you find a leak anywhere simply re-seal it with some caulking.
In addition to these 5 tips and maintenance requests, you should have an HVAC service person out at least once a year to check on the health and condition of your HVAC system. It never hurts to have a professional come out and inspect a little deeper than you can. They might find something that you weren’t able to, and save you from a crisis later in the winter!
The WireNut is always here for any HVAC needs you may have. Schedule your Fall Furnace Tune-Up today!