Winter Takes its Toll
While our winters in South Carolina are not record-breaking, the temperatures can still reach uncomfortably low levels. Your home furnace is your best defense against winter temperatures, but it is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of appliance. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your furnace for winter.
Make Sure Everything Works
The logical first step in getting your furnace set up for the winter is to make sure it works! If it had issues in the previous season or sustained any damage in the off-season, you may expect a performance issue. Otherwise, you’ll quickly be able to tell how much work you need to do before the temperature starts dropping.
Turn your thermostat to heating and set the temperature at least a few degrees higher than the stated room temperature. You should hear the system click on. If, after a couple of minutes, nothing changes, it’s time to do some investigating. And if you are noticing large discrepancies with the room temperature and the set temperature, there may be an issue with your thermostat.
Now is the time you’ll also want to uncover vents if they were covered during the offseason. You should also place covers on any air conditioning units for the season while you get this done.
Conduct Your Own Inspection
There are simple things you can do on your own to make sure your furnace runs smoothly. Check and change your filters if you didn’t at the end of last season. Dirty filters hinder airflow, reducing your furnace’s efficiency and causing your energy bill to be higher.
You can also spend some time cleaning in and around your furnace. Dust collects and can prevent optimal performance if not cleaned. Clean the burners (if your furnace has them) and look for any irregularities. Also, while the system is running, listen for any strange sounds. If you hear something, it may indicate a part of the furnace is broken and needs to be addressed by an HVAC professional.
You should also inspect the blower on the furnace, the piece that helps circulate air throughout your home.
Make Some Upgrades
In between seasons may be the ideal time for you to make some upgrades on your HVAC equipment. One of the most cost-effective upgrades is a smart thermostat. These devices work through WiFi and allow you to program your system remotely. Tailoring your temperature control can help save on energy bills.
Also, if you’ve been putting off doing a full or partial furnace replacement, you’ll want to get that done before the busy season. Not only are HVAC professionals busier during the winter, but it may also leave you in the cold, which no one wants.
If your system allows and you haven’t already, upgrade to a pleated or HEPA filter. These will help increase your energy efficiency and proper airflow, both of which save you money.
Schedule a Tune-Up
A fool-proof way to get your furnace prepared for the winter season is to schedule a tune-up or inspection with a local HVAC company. These professionals can do a top-to-bottom review of your furnace and give you the all-clear or recommend any repairs you may need.
The technician will go over each part of the system to make sure it works correctly. When you get your system checked by a professional, you get peace of mind that you’ve done all you can to help your system run at an optimal level.