The fall is here; is your heating system ready for the winter? Don’t wait until your furnace malfunctions. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests checking your furnace before the winter.
“Properly preparing your furnace for winter requires just a few hours of your time and a little effort in order to keep you and your family comfortable when the cold weather arrives,” said Vincent Mountney, owner of Mountney Heating & Air Conditioning.
“When your heating system is running smoothly you can expect some noises, but a loud banging noise may be an indicator that your blower motor needs repair”, said Mountney.
See the tips below for preparing for the winter:
1. Replace the air filter in your furnace each month. Locate the filter and pull it out. Slide the new filter into the slot, following the arrows on the frame of the filter.
2. Consider upgrading the filter if your current filter is a flat filter. Upgrading to a pleated filter, HEPA filter or electrostatic filter increases the energy efficiency of your furnace and allows the warm air to flow unimpeded through your home.
3. Clean your air vents and ducts. Remove the vent covers with a screwdriver. Use the extension hose of your vacuum to remove the dust.
4. Inspect the blower belt for cracks. Turn off the power to the furnace at the main circuit breaker. Use a screwdriver to remove the steel cover of the air handler. The blower belt is the largest rubber belt that you see. Replace the belt if it is cracked.
5. Engage your set-back, or programmable, thermostat so it automatically lowers the temperature while you are asleep or away from your home. According to the Consumer Energy Center, you could save from 20 to 75 percent on your furnace’s operating costs by using this type of thermostat. Consider retrofitting your older home with one of these thermostats; newly built homes in California must be outfitted with a set-back thermostat.
6. Inspect the exhaust flue outdoors to ensure it is free of obstructions such as branches or animal nests.
7. Keep the area around your furnace unit free of debris and clutter.
8. Open all your air vents. Remove furniture, boxes and clutter that get in the way of air flowing from the vents.