It’s a scene right out of childhood. You wake up on the weekend and snow has begun to blanket the ground. It’s the first, beautiful snowfall of a Pennsylvania winter. You feel the excitement of enjoying a cup of coffee, catching up on a movie or two, and staying cozy indoors.
Until your furnace doesn’t turn on.
A neglected HVAC system can fail at the worst of times, leaving you out in the cold. As the air begins to cool in Pennsylvania, consider these simple steps to prepare your furnace to perform well all winter long so you (and your inner child) can enjoy those snowfalls.
Schedule an Annual Checkup
Regular HVAC maintenance can extend the life of your system and save you from a costly and inconvenient failure. It can also decrease your utility bills and improve air quality in your home. Reliance Heating and Air recommends that your get your furnace serviced in the fall so it’s in tip-top shape for the winter freeze. Our annual maintenance plans will save you money and offer peace of mind that your system is working as it should. If you’re still not convinced it’s worth the investment, check out The Six Benefits of Routine HVAC Maintenance.
Turn on Your Furnace
It’s best to have a sense of how well your furnace is working before you actually need it! At the beginning of fall, switch your HVAC system to heat. Gradually increase the thermostat. Check that each room heats properly in a timely manner, paying attention for any weird smells or loud noises. Make sure warm air is blowing from every vent. If you aren’t satisfied with your furnace’s performance, call in a professional to take a look.
Make Sure All Your Vents are Clear
As you test your system it’s a good idea to go room to room to make sure you haven’t blocked any air vents or radiators with furniture or boxes. Blocked vents will not be able to heat the room efficiently – or at all. You should also ensure the area around your furnace is clear. Items left too close to the furnace can be a fire hazard. Be especially careful that nothing flammable is nearby – such as paint, cleaning supplies, gas, or other chemicals.
Replace Your Filter
The type of air filter you use will impact how often it needs to be changed. Some filters should be changed once a month. Some every three months. If you have central air, your furnace and air conditioner probably use the same filter. If you don’t have air conditioning at all, you may not even know that your furnace has an air filter. Whatever the case may be, fall is a great time to check the air filter on your furnace and consider a replacement. Clogged and dirty air filters are inefficient. They’ll make your furnace work harder, which will raise your energy bills and could cause your system to fail earlier than it should. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, Reliance Heating and Air can help!
Check Your Chimney
Since last winter your chimney may have collected debris, leaves, or even some sort of animal. Before it’s time to use your furnace, make sure your chimney isn’t blocked! If you are unable to reach this safely, you may need to call in a professional. Now’s also a good time to check your ducts and clean your air vents. If you find any leaks or damage, you should get that repaired before winter hits.
Consider a Humidifier
Pennsylvania is prone to humid summers, which can lead to discomfort and added stress on your air conditioner. But once the air temperature starts dropping in the fall, so does humidity – leading to dry skin, chapped lips, and furnaces that have to work overtime. A humidifier can raise the humidity in your home, leaving you more comfortable and reducing the strain on your furnace. Sometimes humidifiers can be built into your HVAC system. If that isn’t possible, independent units can be installed.
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Last but certainly not least, now is a great time to make sure you have fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Once they’re replaced, you should use the test button to make sure the detectors are working properly. These simple actions can protect your family from a devastating fire or a deadly gas leak! Remember that CO detectors also have to be replaced roughly every 7 years.
The earlier you prepare for winter, the more time you’ll have to address any concerns. Don’t get caught out in the cold! Schedule your annual furnace checkup today and consider a maintenance plan to get in front of those issues and reduce overall costs of your HVAC system.