No matter how hard we may try to deny it, winter is coming… and very quickly at that! Before we know it, we’ll be sipping hot chocolate and bundling up in parkas and snowshoes just to get the mail! (Well, maybe not quite that bad.) Even though it will be freezing cold and blustery outside, we all appreciate being able to walk into a warm house after being outside for any length of time. Our furnaces are often neglected when compared to the regular maintenance that we give to the rest of our home and appliances, but it undoubtedly works harder than anything else come January! So take a few moments now to make sure that your furnace will function to its maximum capability and efficiency in the long winter months to come!
The following should be performed on a regur basis:
•Turn off the gas and electricity to the furnace. The gas line will be connected to the furnace by a black pipe and will have a shut-off valve nearby.Turn the valve so it is perpendicular to the gas line to shut it off.
•Open the furnace door and vacuum interior of the furnace with a nozzle attachment. Be sure to get all the dust and loose debris from the base of the furnace as well as the gas burners.
•Check the fan belt to make sure that it hasn’t come loose from normal wear and tear. Also look for signs of glazing or cracking. Check the tension of your belt by pressing down in the middle of it– there should only be 1/2-3/4″ deflection when you check the tension… any more than this and the belt needs to be tightened .
•Change the air filter. It is recommended that you do this several times a year, and if you smoke or have pets it will need to be done more often. A clogged filter can be hard on your blower motor, and even cause it to burn out if it restricts the air flow too much. Also, a clean filter improves the air quality inside your home, an important aspect especially in the winter time.
•When you are finished, replace the furnace door and be sure to turn the gas and electricity back on, and relight the pilot it if needed.
•When your furnace is running, check the pilot light. It should be a crisp, stark blue. if it is yellow, it means that dirt has gotten into the burner.
•The furnace flue should also be checked on the roof to be sure that nothing has blocked it, and the flashing has not come loose over time.
It’s tempting to close off the vents to rooms that aren’t used, but do not close off more than 20% of your home’s vents, as this can cause heat to build up in the furnace.
Make sure that the vents aren’t blocked by furniture or storage.