Winters are nearly here and your gas furnace needs to be working in perfect condition to keep you warm and cozy. However, having not been used during the summer season, it might be that you need some preparation before you can turn the furnace on. Even if your furnace is new, you still need to consider some important furnace maintenance tips that will keep your furnace protected and live a long life. You can do some maintenance tasks yourself while some will require furnace repair services.
Check The Filter
Every furnace comes with a pre-installed filter that helps purify the air before it is distributed inside the house. Depending on the model of the furnace and the type of filter, there could be one or more filters inside a gas furnace. In any case, before you turn on the gas furnace for the winter, you need to access the air filter to make sure it is clean.
Air filters are simple components but have a major impact on the quality of air that you consume. If the air filter is clogged, it will not be able to purify the air and instead contaminate it and cause respiratory problems. That said, you need to be extra careful if you have people suffering from allergies or breathing problems in the house.
Although air filters are mostly located in more or less the same place, you will need to consult the user manual to learn how to access them. Keep in mind that air filters also come with a lifespan. If your furnace happens to be old, you should replace the furnace filter.
Check The Furnace Control Board
Next, the control board happens to be the brain of the unit. Even though control boards inside the furnace are well-protected to prevent moisture and other external factors from affecting it, if the furnace happens to be old, there are chances it has incurred some damage over the years.
Control boards usually malfunction due to power surges. However, to control the effect, fuses or breakers are installed. But sometimes the control board is affected. That said, access the control board and make sure it is not damaged, cracked, corroded, etc.
However, make sure you perform the inspection before you turn on the furnace and not while it is turned on.
Oil The Furnace Blower
The furnace blower motor pushes the air from the furnace to the vents. As it does, layers of dirt and dust accumulate over time which might make it difficult for the motor to perform. On the other hand, the blower motor needs oiling to keep it running perfectly.
Since the furnace is turned off during the entire summer season, you will need to oil the blower motor before starting it in the winter. Simply purchase an off-the-counter lubricant and spray it directly onto the parts. Make sure to give the lubricant some time to settle in.
In addition to that, if you turn on the furnace and notice unusual squeaking or other similar sounds, it might be that it needs oiling. If oiling does not fix the issue, you will need to determine the root cause of the problem and get it fixed.
Check For Leaks
Now, this is going to be the most important part of preparing the furnace for the winter. Leaks can take place due to several reasons and could vary in nature. Some leaks are major and visible, while others are minor and take time to show. However, by that time, the damage was mostly done.
This is why, you need to perform a thorough inspection of the furnace. Plus, look around for signs and symptoms as well. If you notice a few drops in the furnace area, it might be that oil is traveling down from some component and indicating a leak.
Moreover, you should also check the ducts for air leaks. Believe it or not, duct leaks can cause the warm air to escape even before it reaches your home. This has a dramatic effect as the furnace has to work harder than before to compensate for the leaking air.
If your electricity bills have increased, it means there is probably a leakage taking place. It could also be that the duct system has some unwelcomed guests who have taken up accommodation during the summer season.
Make sure the ducts are properly covered and there are no holes, cracks, etc. to allow birds, rats, and other creatures to end up inside.
Clean The Heat Exchanger
A furnace heat exchanger is the metal tubing that carries the hot gasses and flows them outside while heating the air near the outside of the heat exchanger. This is why it’s are called heat exchangers because they transfer heat.
Depending on the type of furnace you may have one or two heat exchangers. Clean them annually or twice a year. Once before the winter and once after the end of winter. As it’s a vital component of a furnace, it must be cleaned by a technician from HVAC companies Huntington.
Test Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Furnaces and other heating systems produce carbon monoxide during heating process. Carbon monoxide is both odorless and colorless, which makes it extremely dangerous. There is a reason it is called a ‘silent killer’ as prolonged exposure can cause unconsciousness and even lead to death in worse-case scenarios.
Some states require homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors. So, make sure the detectors are working and the batteries are new. If the detectors happen to be old, it might be that they are malfunctioning. It is recommended to replace them before turning the furnace on.
Switch On The Thermostat
Before turning on the furnace, check the thermostat as well. The Furnace also comes with a network of wires that will corrode and crack with time. If that is the case, the electronic appliances attached to the furnace will not function properly.
If the wires connecting the thermostat to the furnace are in bad shape, the thermostat will not show accurate readings and will confuse the furnace. This could cause the temperature to drop or a rise in the electricity bills.
Schedule Professional Inspection
Professional inspection is the most important factor when it comes to ensuring your furnace is well-kept and protected before you turn it on in the winter. Furthermore, professional inspection is not just limited to inspection but also maintenance. While checking the air filters and other basic components is easy, you will need an expert to reach complicated and risky areas. You need a complete HVAC inspection.
The frequency of professional inspection depends on several factors such as usage frequency and the age of the furnace. If the furnace is used mostly throughout the year, it will need multiple inspections and maintenance.
Most homeowners believe professional inspections are just a waste of money and something they can do on their own. However, one should keep in mind that furnaces carry risks and can cause severe injuries. One needs to invest in the right tools and possess appropriate skills to be able to access difficult areas safely.
And that’s how you prepare your furnace before turning it on for winter. Your furnace relies on regular inspections and maintenance to keep it running in perfect condition. Moreover, keep an eye out for unusual signs & symptoms so you can consult furnace services Port Jefferson on time for furnace repairs.