How do I prepare my furnace for winter?
Winter Prep Steps
Fall is here, and it’s starting to get chilly in the house. That must mean it’s time to switch your HVAC system over to Heat. Here’s a list of suggested winter preparations to get your furnace ready for the upcoming cold season.
Turn on the thermostat
When you switch from cooling to heating, set the temperature just a few degrees higher than the current room temperature. If the heat doesn’t turn on within a minute or so, there may be a minor issue. Carefully pull off the cover and make sure all wire connections are secure. If all electrical connections are okay, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is on. If you still have problems, something may have happened during the summer months. Check the furnace fan, blower, or heat pump.
Change the air filters
Most air filters are located behind a vent grill within the wall or ceiling, or, if it’s a single filter system, within the HVAC unit itself. These filters should be changed every few months. If you have a permanent electrostatic filter, you can wash the filter and reuse it. Cleaning and replacing these filters helps to keep particles out of the HVAC system and can prolong its life. Also, if you have a humidifier filter, that should be changed as well. Lastly, if your HVAC includes a humidifier, be sure to set the humidistat.
Cover the Air Conditioner condenser
Unless your HVAC is also a heat pump, be sure to cover the condenser to protect it from falling icicles. Experts say using a trash can lid secured with bungee cords works quite well. You can also use a board to cover the fan, but never wrap it in a plastic tarp for fear of trapping moisture inside.
Clean the heat exchanger
The heat exchanger should be cleaned out annually, and only by a trained professional. While the unit is disabled, the technician will look for any splits or cracks, which could lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide leak inside your home.
Keep the blower motor clean and lubricated
Consult your owner’s manual to see if the blower motor is the type that needs to be lubricated. If so, turn off the power and open up the cover. Be sure to remove and clean the caps covering the bearings, and then, of course, lubricate the bearings themselves.
Test the igniter switch
If you have an older system, you may need to relight the pilot. On newer systems, the ignitors are electronic. If your ignitor isn’t working, try pushing the reset button. If that doesn’t work, be sure to check your circuit breaker. If that still isn’t the problem, consult a professional.
Inspect your chimney and all carbon monoxide detectors
Chimneys should be inspected periodically because they can become clogged with carbon buildup or even small animals. Carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and replaced as well, as they help protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Replace your oil-powered filter and nozzle, and check the tank level
On oil units, filters need to be changed, and burner nozzles need to be cleaned. Unlike gas-fired systems that burn cleaner than oil, a thorough brushing of the heat-exchanger will keep everything running efficiently.
Please call the professionals at All American Environmental for help with your Winter Prep Home Heating Oil Furnace questions and needs.