Preparing Your Furnace for Winter

October 2013, 2013

As the cold weather approaches, it is a good idea to make certain your furnace is in proper working order. You don't want to awaken one night after a cold front has come through, to find your house is cold and the heat won't come on.

Regular service from an authorized technician is a good idea, but there are some things you can do yourself. Just remember, we're here to help if you need us.

  • Even if your furnace is electric, but especially if it is gas-operated, you will want to clear away anything flammable from around the furnace. The whole idea of a furnace is the creation of heat, so having flammable items leaning up against the furnace is a particularly bad idea.
  • One of the easiest, but also one of the most important things to do, is changing the furnace filter. Of course, you have to have one on hand, so be sure you have a replacement, or jot down the size and go get several of them to have on hand.

Furnace filters can be cleaned and reused, but once they are extremely dirty, the time and effort involved is self-defeating. Just replace it and save yourself a thankless and very dirty job.

Whether using a new or cleaned filter, be sure to install it properly. Most are designed for a directional flow, so there is a right and a wrong way to install them. Usually, they are marked with an arrow or other designation for the intended direction of airflow through the filter.

A dirty filter can wreak havoc with both air conditioners and furnaces, with the former icing up, and the latter having their heat exchangers overheat. Set yourself a schedule to regularly check filters.

  • Check your thermostat to ensure it is set properly. Units that connect to both heating and cooling systems have a switch indicating which one is in operation. Be sure it is set to the heating position.
  • Test fire the furnace. Do this by simply turning the thermostat to a higher temperature until the furnace turns on. Walk around your home verifying that all vents are blowing warm air into the rooms.
  • Take note of anything out of the ordinary, such as strange sounds or smells. Yes, it is normal for there to be a characteristic odor for a few moments on first start-up. That is simply dust accumulation burning off the heat exchanger. But if it persists for more than a very few minutes, it could be a sign of trouble.

Doing these things should have your heating system ready for the first cold snap.

Cullins One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® proudly serves the Columbus and central Ohio area. Call Cullins with any questions you may have, or to schedule a regular service appointment.