In the past we have been a family that has tried to last as long as possible before turning the heat on each fall. This year, we are in the middle of potty training our 2 year old, which consists of him spending most of the day running around without pants on. For his sake, we have turned on the furnace a little earlier this year. Whether you like to hold out until you can see your breath (indoors!), or you crank up the heat at the first sign of chilly weather, there are still a few things to do first.
A routine maintenance inspection is recommended annually. A qualified technician will examine the furnace and make sure there are no safety issues–such as a cracked heat exchanger–and they will check to see that the unit is running properly and efficiently. Though we do recommend having your furnace inspected every year, you do not need to wait for the inspection before turning the heat on if the weather gets cold.
Depending on what kind of filter you have you may need to either clean it off with a hose, or replace the filter. Most disposable filters can be found at your local or big box hardware store. Clogged filters mean that the furnace cannot effectively heat your home’s air.
Take a look around your house and see if any of the air vents are being blocked by furniture. If they are, do your best to rearrange items so that air can flow freely between the furnace and the home.
Whole home humidifiers are great products to have during the dry winter months. Not only can they make sleeping easier and help out dry cracked skin, they can also help to save you money on your heating bills. This is because humid air feels warmer than dry air–you don’t need to turn that thermostat up as high! However, before starting up the humidifier for the season it needs to be cleaned. You can do it yourself (see instructions here), or call for help.
Drum roll please…it’s finally time for the big moment! In order to turn the furnace on, head over to your home’s thermostat and make sure that it is set to heat. Older thermostats may have switch that says “HEAT COOL OFF,” while newer thermostats and smart thermostats may look a bit different. Feel free to contact us at Flame, or check out your user’s manual if you are having trouble.
If the heat does not kick on right away, make sure that the switch, which resembles a light switch, located on the furnace itself is also in the on position.
There is actually not much that needs to be done for your air conditioner during heating season. While some will tell you to cover the outside condenser unit, we actually advise against that. Covering the unit can lead to trapped moisture and problems associated with that. Leaves and other debris that end up on the a/c can be hosed off in the spring.
In order to save some money during the winter, you can turn off the electricity that heats the oil for the condenser unit. Look outside around the air conditioner for a small electrical box and flip the disconnect switch to off.
Remember, if you have any questions at all about getting your furnace up and running this fall, please contact us at Flame Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical!