Heating and Cooling

4 Steps to Take before Turning on Your Furnace

As the temperature outside gets cooler, you will want the temperature inside your home to get warmer. While it may be tempting to simply turn on the furnace and start heating up your house, it is important to make sure your HVAC system is working properly and safely. Before switching from your air conditioner to your furnace, follow these four steps.

  • Check (and replace) the air filter.
    Do you remember the last time you changed your air filter? Depending on the type of air filter you use and how much your system runs, it is best to clean or replace it every 30-90 days. The last thing you want is a dirty filter. It restricts airflow and causes your furnace (and entire HVAC system) to work harder and not as efficiently as possible. It is also harder to remove pollutants from your home’s indoor air (think contaminants like dust mites, mold, pet dander, dead skin, allergens, viruses and more). Before turning on your furnace, be sure the air filter is good to go.

    Two good rules of thumb:

    • When you change the filter, write the date on the cardboard edge of the filter, so you can easily check it and change it, if needed.
    • Schedule a reminder on your phone’s calendar to check and change the filter, if needed, every 30-90 days.
  • Clean the vents.
    Walk around your home and notice which vents could use some cleaning. Perhaps there is dust, pet hair or more visible contaminants on your vent covers. Turn off your HVAC system, then use a duster, soft cloth or vacuum to clean them well. Just like a clean air filter, it will help with airflow and allow cleaner air to move throughout the house once you turn on the furnace.
  • Look for air leaks.
    Check each window and door of your home for drafts. Feel a breeze of cool air? Sealing those off not only helps your furnace function better, but it lowers your heating bill as well. Caulking and weatherstripping can be very effective yet simple DIY solutions for sealing leaks. You can find more tips for sealing air leaks here.
  • Schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment.
    It is important to have your HVAC system checked by a professional twice a year (in the spring before using the air conditioner for the first time and in the fall before using the furnace for the first time). Even if everything is working well, this kind of preventive maintenance is important for the life of your HVAC system, addressing any issues before they turn into expensive repairs or replacements.

    During a maintenance appointment, our NATE-certified technicians ensure your HVAC system is running smoothly (NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence, the leading program for certification of technicians in the HVAC industry). The technician will:

    • Inspect the unit and its wiring;
    • Clean and lubricate all unit components as needed;
    • Check the fuel line and fuel levels;
    • Test the pilot light (if applicable) and calibrate pressure in the fuel line;
    • Clean all portions of the fuel line and pilot light mechanism (if applicable);
    • Calibrate the unit, so that it provides reliable, efficient service; and
    • Identify any potential mechanical issues or repair needs.

Follow these four steps, and your furnace will be ready to run. For more tips on maintaining your furnace or to schedule an HVAC maintenance appointment, contact Stiles Heating & Cooling.

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