4 steps to prepare your furnace for savings all winter

October 15, 2014

Priming your furnace for winter is smart for many reasons: safety, comfort and savings being among the most important. Here are four steps to prepare your furnace to run regardless of the weather – for cash savings you'll enjoy all winter.

4 steps to prepare your furnace for savings all winter

1. Replace the air filter regularly

If you don't already replace the air filter in your home’s furnace each and every month, you should.

  • Although some experts recommend replacing filters every three months, for optimal indoor air quality and heat flow, changing the filters every month is best.

What's more, replacing the filter is easy.

  1. Simply locate the filter, usually found behind an easy-to-access door or panel on your furnace.
  2. Remove the old filter.
  3. Slide in the new filter by following the arrows on the filter’s frame.

2. Consider upgrading the furnace filter

Have you ever thought about replacing your home furnace’s filter if it uses a filter that has flat surfaces? It's worth considering.

  • By upgrading to a pleated filter, a HEPA filter or an electrostatic filter, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency. These types of filters have "more" surface area and tend to be more effective.
  • In addition, filter upgrades such as these allow warm air to flow more easily throughout every room of your home.

3. Clean vents and ducts

Chances are it has been awhile since the vents and air ducts in your home were cleaned. Why is this important?

  • The debris tends to "clog" the ducts and impedes air from circulating freely.
  • Removing dust, dirt and debris from vents and ducts can help warm air flow into every room more readily. It can also potentially reduce the amount of dust that gets kicked up into the air.

4. Check for damage to the fan

Inspecting the blower belt for cracks now could save you a lot of grief when the weather outside is frightful.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the air handler’s cover when your system is set to "off."
  • You’ll see a large rubber belt, the blower belt.
  • If you see cracks or any other damage, be sure to replace it for peak furnace performance.

Keeping it safe

Along with these four steps, you should take a minute to inspect the exhaust pipes of your furnace to ensure they are free of any obstructions.

  • Any backflow of gases into your home due to an obstruction could potentially pose a health hazard. It also renders your furnace less efficient at burning oil since any form of combustion requires a steady flow of fresh air.

Other safety checks
In addition, you should take a couple of other precautions that will help to safeguard you and your family this winter.

  • Keep the area around your furnace free of clutter to avoid any potential fire hazards when you turn your furnace on.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and radon detectors.

Summer money savings
There are several things you can do in summer to help you save even more in winter.

  • Stock up on air filters in warm weather. They're normally cheaper to buy in the summer.
  • Have your oil supply company top up your oil tank, if you have an oil furnace. It's much cheaper in summer when demand is at an all-time low.

There are plenty of simple steps and precautions you can take to guarantee your furnace is ready to keep you warm all winter long. If you still have questions or run into any problems, contact a qualified HVAC contractor in your area today.

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