Prepare Your Furnace for Cooler Weather Ahead

Right now, your focus is on keeping your air conditioner in great shape. But sooner or later, cooler temperatures will start to dominate the area. Before cooler weather arrives, make sure your furnace is in the best possible shape.

In the aviation world, a pre-flight check is essential for ensuring an aircraft is ready for takeoff. Just as an aircraft requires preventive care and maintenance for flight, your furnace also needs a pre-season checkup to ensure your system is ready to work when your home’s seasonal needs change.

1. Furnace Cleaning

Various portions of your furnace will contain fine layers of dust and debris as a result of inactivity over the past few months. A little dust won’t harm your furnace, but dust can create a distinctive burning odor akin to burning cookies when your furnace starts up for the first time in months. A lot of dust, on the other hand, can put your furnace at risk of sparking a fire as the furnace heats up.

Excessive dust and debris buildup can choke the life out of your furnace. Airflow obstructions caused by dust buildup not only prevents heat from being distributed properly, but it can also cause the furnace to overheat and shut down prematurely. Large amounts of dust and debris can even pose a fire hazard, making your furnace dangerous to operate until it’s thoroughly cleaned.

For gas and oil-fired furnaces, enlist the help of an HVAC professional to inspect and clean the burners properly. Many furnace repair issues can be traced back to burners encrusted with rust or caked-on debris. Cleaning the burners can help give your furnace the performance and efficiency boost it needs to keep your home comfortable all winter long.

2. Comprehensive Inspection

Most of your furnace’s internal components are hidden from plain view, making a quick visual inspection difficult. If anything goes wrong with the parts you can’t see, you may not know about it until it’s too late. Such situations can be dangerous for you and others inside your home.

That’s where a comprehensive inspection from a trusted and experienced HVAC specialist comes into play. Your specialist can dig deep inside of your furnace to spot potential problems before they become major issues. For example, an HVAC specialist can gain access to carefully inspect your furnace’s heat exchanger for signs of rust and other damage. A corroded or cracked heat exchanger not only robs your furnace of its performance, but a heat exchanger with problems can also create a dangerous carbon monoxide leak.

3. Fuel Supply Check

If you have a furnace that relies on natural gas, propane, or fuel oil, make sure it has a steady supply of fuel available. Double-check all gas supply lines and turn on any valves that were shut off during the summer months. Don’t forget to have your HVAC specialist take a close look at every fuel line and fuel fitting for signs of leaks. A gas or oil leak can prove dangerous for you and others in your home.

If your home is equipped with an oil or propane furnace, check the fuel level in the outdoor tank and top it off with extra fuel as needed prior to startup. Don’t forget to prime the furnace before attempting to start it. If your home relies on an electric furnace, focus on checking the heating elements for signs of wear and tear as well as physical damage.

4. Furnace Testing

Although you won’t need to use your furnace right away, take it on a test run while there’s still plenty of warm weather. A shakedown run offers a small preview of how well your furnace will perform throughout the colder months. Giving your furnace a chance to stretch its legs will also make it less likely to suffer an unexpected breakdown when you begin using it in earnest later on.

A shakedown run also lets you spot and address any mechanical, electrical, or comfort-related issues that pop up during the test run. If you need to have a blower motor, thermostat, or capacitor replaced, you can schedule repairs without worrying about being without heat when you need it. By giving your furnace a brief test run, you’ll experience less anxiety about your furnace’s performance.

Comprehensive furnace testing can help you gauge your furnace’s longevity and decide whether it’s time to repair or replace the unit. Keep in mind that most modern furnaces offer a lifespan of 20 to 30 years before they need replacement. Furnaces with chronic problems or poor energy efficiency should be replaced with something newer and more energy efficient.

Getting your furnace ready to tackle cooler weather is made easier with the help of a skilled and experienced HVAC specialist. Contact Advanced Heating & Cooling today for all your heating and cooling needs throughout Boise and the Treasure Valley.


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