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Before winter is in full swing, the most important task you can do to prepare you and your family for winter months is to make sure that your furnace is safe to use and fully operational. When you experience that first cold day, you don’t want to be turning on your furnace and discovering that a vital component isn’t working. If you require a furnace repair service, trying to book a last-minute service towards the end of fall can get quite hectic and may leave you without adequate heating.
Despite not being used often throughout the summer months, a lot can affect your furnace. The earlier you look at whether you need furnace repair, the better prepared you’ll be when winter is here. During a routine maintenance inspection, a professional repair specialist can undertake tasks such as cleaning the furnace, changing the filter, and checking for leaks. Cleaning furnace ducts may also be considered an important activity, depending on how much dust and debris have lodged here. When it’s time to switch your home over to benefit primarily from heating, the following checks can help you prepare for regular furnace use:
A primary test that any furnace repair technician will undertake when evaluating issues with your heating system is to test the thermostat. Firstly, the thermostat will be set to a couple of degrees higher than the ambient room temperature to see if the heating system kicks in within a minute or so. If it doesn’t, the cover will need to be pulled off and the connections inspected.
Preliminary checks will also involve making sure the power source to your furnace is connected and turned on. Thermostat inspections are often part of annual maintenance checks and a task that can be arranged at any time of year, though it’s most pertinent to check it a couple of weeks before heating will be required consistently.
Air filters are typically located behind vent grills in walls or ceilings, and some HVAC systems may also have a single filter built into the system itself. It’s recommended that these filters are checked and changed every few months, preferably by a professional furnace repair technician as part of the annual tune-up. Some systems utilize electrostatic filters, which can be washed and reused, instead of replaced.
Arranging for quarterly or 6-monthly filter checks throughout the year will reduce particle buildup and increase the lifespan of your full HVAC system. If the HVAC system in your Rockwall, TX, home also has a built-in humidifier, make sure these filters are also inspected regularly.
Condenser cover ups.
Unless your HVAC system uses a heat pump, it’s wise to cover the condenser during the colder months to avoid damage from the build-up of ice and damage from falling icicles. Your furnace technician can advise which materials are best used to protect your condenser during the months while it’s not in use.
On older systems, you will have a pilot light that may need relighting. New models often have electronic ignitors that can be reset at the push of a button. If you’re having issues with relighting the pilot and providing an ignition source for your furnace, a furnace repair expert can evaluate your system, check your breaker switches, and more, to get your igniter switch in working order.
Chimney inspections should be scheduled annually to locate hidden defects that can lead to a costly repair service, or worse, a chimney fire. If you have just bought your home, and you don’t know when the chimney was last inspected, it must be looked at before you start to use it in autumn and winter regularly. Another convenient time to have a chimney inspection is when your HVAC system is changed. Inspections will evaluate the effectiveness of your chimney, vent system, and chimney lining. I
If your furnace has remained unused for a long time, you may find that pests have built nests that may block the chimney chamber or flue. Annual freeze cycles and the buildup of moisture, while the furnace is unused, can also affect the lining materials and masonry. An inspection will help identify if you’d benefit from furnace repair sooner rather than later.
Heat exchanger inspections.
The heat exchanger should undergo maintenance annually by a trained furnace repair specialist, while the unit is not in operation. While it’s being brushed, vacuumed, and cleaned, the technician can locate, evaluate, and repair the element if cracks or other degradation could lead to a carbon monoxide leak.
Carbon monoxide monitoring.
One of the most important checks that should be made before winter is in full swing is the carbon monoxide monitoring system. Carbon monoxide detectors should be routinely tested to make sure they work, and they should be replaced if identified as faulty.
Oil-powered furnace checks.
Several specific checks apply if your home utilizes an oil-powered furnace to heat your home in winter. These furnaces require oil filter changes, and a thorough heat exchanger and burner nozzle cleaning since oil isn’t a clean burner fuel. The tank level should also be checked, and oil replaced.
Once winter is on its way out, it’s recommended that the furnace undergoes a complete seasonal shutdown process, since it’s unlikely to be used in spring and summer. While modern furnaces can be left on year-round, undergoing a seasonal shutdown process will save on energy bills and reduce furnace repair calls that address wear and tear issues.
Key tasks may include:
- Turning off the pilot light
- Changing or clean filters
- Inspecting the furnace
- Calling service professionals
If you’re looking to make sure your furnace is successfully prepared for winter, contacting a furnace repair specialist is the right call. The professionals at K&S Heating and Air regularly service furnaces in Rockwall, TX, and the surrounding areas. The 24/7 emergency service can be scheduled by phone to assist with urgent issues. Alternatively, schedule an appointment online at your convenience.