5 Steps to Winterize Your Furnace

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With winter approaching, homeowners in Central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest have a bit of work to do to prepare our homes for the upcoming chilly weather properly. This is especially true for your heating system, which will likely be highly active throughout the season after lying dormant for most of the year. After all, you don’t want to head into the holiday season shivering and cold in your own home.

Well over 50 percent of homes in the United States use furnaces as a heating source, yet many homeowners are oblivious to the inconveniences and dangers that an unkempt furnace pose. Follow this checklist to ensure your HVAC system is up to the task of warming your house this winter both efficiently and safely.

How to Winterize Your Furnace:

  1. Change Your Filters.
    Winter and summer are the two seasons guaranteed to be tough on your furnace’s air filters. Both seasons see more frequent use of your cooling and heating elements, which means more buildup clings to your air filters. A clogged air filter can be a huge issue when it comes to heating your air during the winter, as they always lead to a wide range of issues, such as:

    • Drastic reduction of heating efficiency
    • Costly frozen evaporator coils
    • Circulation of unhealthy air
    • Furnace failure

    Furthermore, if your furnace is filthy, you’re probably limiting the amount of heating you’re actually experiencing indoors. When your blower is struggling to push air through a clogged filter, it’s likely to overheat and shut off prematurely. This means you’re not getting the warm air you want. Fortunately, changing out filters is a simple process.

  2. Turn Up the Thermostat.
    Before you need to rely on heat to stay comfortable indoors, check to see if it works. Switch your thermostat over from “cool” to “heat” and raise the number by a couple of degrees. Your furnace should kick on almost instantly if everything’s in running order. If it doesn’t, remove the cover of your thermostat to check that your wires are correctly connected. If the wires are in place but you’re still not experiencing any hot air, it’s time to call in the professionals for a little checkup.

  3. Have Your Chimney Inspected.
    Many homeowners have no idea that furnaces – particularly those that run on gas – rely on some sort of chimney for proper ventilation. Therefore, many chimneys go without proper attention. However, this is an issue that should be checked on each and every year by a professional before you begin using your furnace. Not only do chimneys often contain small animals that have wedged themselves into what they believe to be a safe space, but a buildup of residue could cause a fire hazard.

  4. Prepare the Blower Motor.
    Some types of furnaces need a bit of lubrication around the blower motor now and again. If yours is one of these furnaces (information that can be found in your owner’s manual), the process is simple. Turn off the power, open the cover, clean the bearing caps, and then lubricate the bearings beneath. This ensures your blower’s able to keep up with your need for warm air all winter long.

  5. Have Your Heat Exchanger Cleaned.
    While you can DIY most of the work involved in readying your furnace for winter, this is a job best left to professionals. Your heat exchange requires a good, thorough vacuuming and brushing every year. This is also an excellent opportunity for trained professionals to check your system for cracks or other issues that could lead to the danger of carbon monoxide intrusion in your home and perform any necessary furnace repair.

Winter may not be here quite yet, but it’s never too early to change your filters and get a thorough system checkup before cold weather arrives. Contact Henson Robinson for early maintenance and have peace of mind knowing that your furnace will still be running strong straight through the holiday season.

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