Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?

Fall is already in the air! The kids are back to school and the leaves are turning colours. Before we know it, we’ll be experiencing our first snowfall, since winter is right around the corner. When preparing for the winter weather there are some things you should check to ensure the furnace is set for success all winter long. The following is a basic checklist to make sure all things are a go!

  1. Turn on thermostat: Switch from cooling to heating and set the temperature a couple of degrees higher than the current room temperature. If you don’t hear the heat kick on within a minute, pull off the cover and make sure the wire connections are snug, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is turned on and if required you have fresh batteries installed in your thermostat. If it’s still not working, you should have your furnace serviced by a licenced professional.
  2. Change the Air Filters: You probably have air filters behind a grill in the wall, ceiling, or a single filter in the HVAC system itself. Make sure to change these filters every few months in the winter. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong its life. While you’re at it, change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat; only if your HVAC includes a humidifier.
  3. Cover the AC Condenser: Unless your HVAC is a heat pump (in which case, don’t cover it at all because it runs all year), cover the condenser to protect it from falling icicles. These large icicles potentially falling from your house can seriously damage your HVAC system. A large trash can lid secured with bungee cords or a board to cover the fan works well. This will protect it all winter long, or you can purchase an A/C cover that correctly fits your unit.
  4. Cleaning Your Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger should be brushed and vacuumed out annually by a trained professional while the unit is disabled. While being cleaned, the technician will look for cracks, which could lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide leak into your home.
  5. Inspect the Chimney and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Chimneys can house carbon buildup or even small animals. Routinely test or replace carbon monoxide detectors, as they will help protect you from the “silent killer.”
  6. Lubricate and Clean the Blower Motor: First, check the owner’s manual to see if your motor is the kind that needs lubricating. If it does, turn the power off, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. Then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings.

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