Preparing Your Furnace for the Winter Cold

Preparing Your Furnace for the Winter Cold

Winter is approaching in New England. The temperatures already dropping and by now, I’m sure you’ve turned on your heat a couple of times. Let’s make sure your heating system, whether it’s a gas or oil furnace, heat pump or boiler, is ready for the winter cold. Regular maintenance can help extend the lifetime of your HVAC system. Plus preparing your furnace for winter ahead of time is far better than you having to make an emergency service call in the middle of the night.

Heater and Furnace Maintenance Tips

Although there’s no substitute for professional tune-ups performed by experienced heating professionals, there are still some basic preventative maintenance tasks you can perform yourself.

Turn your heat on to test

You have most likely already turned on your heat, but you should always test your unit before you need it. Last thing you want to happen is to not have heat on a cold night. Turn on your heat and walk around your home making sure even, effective warm air is flowing in each room.

Clear your air vents and change your filters

Check to make sure there is air flow escaping from each vent. If not, it could be a blockage or ductwork problems. Blocked vents will run up energy bill because your unit has to work harder to maintain your desired temperature.

Filters are there to protect your HVAC system from dirt, dust and debris. Without filters, your system is subject to inefficiency and potential damage. Even if you’ve recently cleaned your air filters or checked them for clogs, you should still replace them before the frigid air arrives. You want your unit to run at peak performance and your home or business’s air quality is clean and healthy.

Clear debris from outdoor units

If your HVAC unit is outdoors, check to make sure there’s roughly two to three feet of cleared space around it. Additionally, you should remove loose sticks, leaves, grass and any other debris if it’s on top of or even inside the unit itself.

Change your programmed thermostat settings

When switching between heating and cooling systems, you want to change your programmed temperature settings as well. Choose comfortable, energy efficient temperature setpoints for when you are home. 68 degrees is recommended for heating efficiency. When you are away for the day at work or school, lower your settings 10 to 15 degrees. This helps reduce energy consumption and eliminates heating waste.

Use your senses to test your furnace

When you first turn the heater on, listen for any odd noises. When your heating cycle is on, you should only hear the typical muffled sound of its operation. If you hear clicking noises, there may be a problem with the ignition. If you have heat but hear clicking, there could be other problems with the system.

If you smell something when you first turn it on, it may be normal for system that hasn’t been used for a while. It’s normally dust that’s collected on the internal components that heats up and emits a burning smell. However, if the smell continues or gets worse, contact an HVAC professional immediately.

Schedule a Regular Maintenance Call 

DIY regular maintenance can be beneficial for the performance and longevity of your HVAC unit. However, the best thing you can do is have an HVAC expert inspect the unit and perform any repairs that may be necessary. Today’s heating systems are complicated and preparing your furnace before winter sets in should be done by experts.

The professionals at Lakeside Oil do more than just deliver heating oil. We also offer exceptional furnace and heater maintenance and repair services. We would be happy to help you save money this season and keep you running warm.