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Prepare Your Furnace for Winter

As the weather turns colder, you will want to make sure your furnace is working properly and ready to heat your home. Sediment buildup can cause a heating system to work less efficiently and become a fire hazard. You can prevent this by cleaning your furnace annually and taking the following steps:

Make sure the furnace is working  – Turn the thermostat in your home from cool to heat and set the temperature several degrees above room temperature. If you feel warm air blowing out of the vents after a few minutes, that is great news and your furnace is likely working properly. If you don’t feel any warm air, you should probably call a professional.

Change filters monthly and clean vents and ducts   – Whether you are running the air conditioner or the furnace, home air filters should be changed monthly. If you have not changed your air filters in the past month, you should change them before you begin running your heater. Additionally, vents and ducts can accumulate buildup. Remove the vent covers and use the hose extension of your vacuum cleaner to clean out dust.

Protect AC condensers  – If your HVAC system is not run by a heat pump, use a large trashcan lid or other sturdy plastic — secured with bungee cords or tie-downs — to cover the AC condenser and protect it from falling icicles or debris. If your HVAC system is heat pump-operated, covering it will interfere with its functionality.

Inspect and lubricate the blower belt and motor  – Turn off the furnace power at the main circuit breaker. Remove the steel cover of the air handler and inspect the blower belt (the largest visible piece of rubber) for cracks. If the blower belt is cracked, it will need to be replaced. Additionally, check the owner’s manual to see if the blower motor needs to be lubricated. If so, clean the caps covering the bearings, remove the caps, and lubricate the bearings.

Test the igniter switch  – Newer HVAC systems have electronic ignitors. If the ignitor does not seem to be working, press the reset button. If it is still not working, check your breakers or call a professional. Older systems are run by pilot lights that may need to be relit.

For a detailed article on cleaning your furnace,  click here.

All of these small tasks can make your HVAC system run more efficiently and save money on your energy bills. We have trusted professionals who we can recommend for winterizing your home or working on your furnace. If you need help, we would love to refer someone to you. If you are looking for some other ways to save money, call us today to discuss a mortgage checkup, and we will determine if a refinance is a good option for you.

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