4 Steps For Preparing Your Furnace For Winter

Construction & Contractors Articles

Like any appliance, your furnace will often require a tune-up after extended disuse during the summer months. Taking the right steps to prepare your furnace for winter will help you avoid unexpected breakdowns, reduced efficiency, and even fire hazards. Here are three things you should do before you use your furnace the first time this winter.

Replace or Clean the Furnace Filter

Proper airflow is important to keep your furnace running efficiently. If your furnace filter is dirty, it will block airflow, and it will also be less effective at removing contaminants from the air that is circulated through your home. Depending on the type of furnace filter that you have, you should clean or replace it before you begin using your furnace in the winter.

If you are using replaceable furnace filters, you may want to consider stocking up on them during the summer months. This allow you to change your filter each month without venturing out into the cold to buy a new one, and you may be able to find them for a cheaper price if you purchase during the off-season for home heating.

Inspect the Blower Belt

Inside your furnace is a rubber belt that turns the blower motor to circulate air throughout your home. A damaged belt can snap while your furnace is running, causing it to break down and possibly damaging the moving parts inside the unit. It is a good idea to examine the blower belt before you use the furnace for the first time to avoid this problem.

To examine the blower belt, first shut off the breaker to your furnace. The blower belt can typically be found behind an access panel on the side of the furnace that either slides off or is held on by screws. After removing the panel, you should see a large rubber belt that is attached to a pulley on the blower motor. If you see cracks or fraying in the belt, remove it and take it to a local HVAC supply store to find an identical belt to replace it with.

Inspect Your Furnace Flue

Your furnace exhaust flue is responsible for removing harmful fumes from your home that are produced by your furnace. Holes in the furnace flue are very dangerous because they can allow gases such as carbon monoxide to escape into your home. You can patch small holes in the flue with foil tape, but large holes like those often caused by corrosion will require the flue to be replaced.

In addition to holes in the flue, blockages in the flue can cause fumes to backdraft into your home. Animal nests, twigs, leaves, and other debris that has fallen into the flue while your furnace was out of use are the most common causes of blockages. Hiring a furnace contractor to inspect your flue for blockages and to double-check for holes is the best way to make sure that your flue is working correctly.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Even if your furnace flue is in good shape now, that doesn't mean that fume backdraft is a problem you should forget about. Installing a carbon monoxide detector before using your furnace is the best way to keep your family safe from furnace fumes.

While carbon monoxide is normally undetectable, there are a few subtle signs you can watch out for that may indicate furnace backdraft. Furnace fumes often carry moisture with them, so there may be a problem if you notice condensation on your windows in the morning after using your furnace. In some cases, backdraft can also cause rust on the outside of your furnace.

If you take these steps before using your furnace for the first time, you can keep your furnace running efficiently and safely all winter long.


20 April 2016

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