Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter Weather?

Is Your Furnace Ready to Face the Upcoming Winter Weather?

Winter weather without a furnace is no fun for anyone.With December just around the corner and Thanksgiving knocking at your door this week, it’s the perfect time to begin thinking seriously about the state of your heating system.

Few moments are more frustrating and terrifying than turning on the heat on the first chilly night of the year only to find that your heater is malfunctioning. It’s time to break out the blankets and call the repairman first thing in the morning . . . But until then, your kids are shivering, and the family dog is huddled up and howling by the fire.

Don’t let this scenario happen to your family this winter. There are so many ways to get the most out of your furnace—and make sure it’s functioning before the cold sets in.

Below are just a few quick and easy ways to check the status of your furnace while it’s still relatively warm out:

• Make sure your gas has been turned on.
• Clear away debris from vents and heat pumps.
• Change your air filters (monthly).
• Try flipping the breaker.
• Experiment with your thermostat.

Let’s go ahead and explore each of these solutions a little more in-depth:

1. Make sure your gas has been turned on.

Before Jack Frost nips at your nose, it’s important to call up your gas provider and ensure that your meter is running and that the gas valve has been adjusted so that it’s parallel, rather than perpendicular.

You may also want to check to see if your furnace has a pilot light (as many older models do) and to make certain that it’s lit.

2. Clear away debris from vents and heat pumps.

Autumn leaves are gorgeous. The foliage blossoms in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. But as time wears on, that beautiful scenery can become the bane of your furnace’s existence.

When checking into the status of your furnace, be sure to hose off any residue that may be clogging your intake/exhaust vents on the outside of your house.

3. Change your air filters (monthly).

This is a point that we’ve harped on quite frequently—but only because it’s one of the easiest solutions to many of the most common issues that people have with their HVAC systems.

A clogged furnace filter can actually, believe it or not, cause a furnace to shut off completely. That’s why it’s vitally important to check and change your air filter at least once every other month, if not every month.

4. Try flipping the breaker.

It might seem like common sense—it’s the old adage, “Try turning it off and back on again.”—but you’d be surprised how many times technicians are called out only to find that the fix was simply to flip the breaker, effectively turning the system off and back on again.

Before you call up your local repairman, take a second to test the electrical connection. You could save yourself a significant amount of time . . . and some money!

5. Experiment with your thermostat.

Depending on the set up of your system, your thermostat can either be incredibly complicated or as easy as apple pie.

In case you’ve misplaced your owner’s manual (really, who keeps those?), most models have some form of instruction online that should be easily accessed with a little Google know-how.

For most thermostats, the best place to start is by testing to see if it’s actually communicating with your furnace. You can do this by setting the temperature five degrees higher than the current room temperature and waiting to see if your furnace kicks on. If it doesn’t start up within a few minutes, you may have a problem—in which case, you should refer to the other 4 steps before enlisting the help of a professional.

Another common solution is to switch out the battery. As with your smoke detector and other household, battery-operated appliances, your thermostat likely needs a good refresher every year or two.

If all else fails, you can always call up your local HVAC specialists to help you out! Remember: don’t wait until there’s already a need; get ahead of the cold weather by testing out your furnace in advance.

Bunn’s and Bennett Heating and Air Conditioning’s goal is for our customers to have total comfort. We’ve been a licensed and insured HVAC dealer serving Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley area for more than 30 years. If you have questions, we have answers. Email us at [email protected] or call us at 256-536-0967.

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