With Spokane’s colder months upon us, It’s the time of year to get your furnace back up and running. Having sat unused through the summer, your furnace can develop small issues and problems that can diminish efficiency or even lead to a costly emergency. Ideally, a proper pre-run inspection by a certified technician will ensure maximum efficiency, reliability & safety. Short of that, here are some simple checks homeowners can make themselves before starting up their system
1. Check that your furnace has electrical power
Inspect your fuse or breaker box for any blown fuses or tripped breakers. This step is essential because a blown fuse or tripped breaker could signal a more significant problem with your furnace or even your home’s electrical system. If you suspect an electrical issue, it is essential to call professional help immediately to ensure the safety of your home and family.
2. Check that the unit’s power switch is in the “on” position
Occasionally a furnace can be accidentally switched off, or even intentionally switched during the summer and forgotten. Locate the power switch on your unit; this may be in a metal enclosure. As with opening an electrical component, it is important to shut off power at your breaker/fuse box before proceeding. Some furnaces may have a secondary breaker/fuse installed on or close by the unit. Check that there are no blown fuses or tripped breakers. Again, if there are blown fuses or tripped breakers this could signal a bigger problem with the unit and a professional inspection should be performed by a licensed technician.
3. Check that there are no obstructions in the exterior intake and exhaust system
This check is vital for the safe operation of your furnace. Often during the summer, debris can find their way into these essential components. Windblown leaves, insects and even rodent nests can obstruct these airways preventing air from entering and escaping the system. An obstruction can not only lead to poor performance but can lead to hazardous conditions such as an excessive build-up of heat and even deadly carbon monoxide gas. If you have trouble clearing an obstruction, it is crucial to get the problem fixed by a professional before operating your furnace. Your home & family’s safety is at stake.
4. Check your thermostat settings
Make sure your thermostat is set to “heat” and that the temperature setting is high enough to trigger the furnace to come on. Although this seems straightforward, it is a small detail that can be easily overlooked by a busy homeowner.
5. Check thermostat batteries
If you have a modern programmable thermostat, it may depend on simple battery power to operate. Many of these thermostats will have a flashing “low battery” warning light. If the batteries in your thermostat are low, replace them with fresh ones. Often there are small tricks to finding and replacing the batteries that are unique to each thermostat. If you have trouble replacing them, call a professional. Do not attempt to force a thermostat open or off the wall; you will only damage the unit.
6. Check your furnace filter
If warm air is coming from your heating registers, but not at the usual rate, a clogged filter may be to blame. Dust, hair and other debris collect in your furnace filter over time restricting air flow. The filters on a typical residential heating system should be changed every three months. If you have trouble locating or replacing your filter call a professional. While not as critical as some of the above checks, regular replacement of these filters extend the life of your unit and keep it operating at maximum efficiency.
7. Clean your air ducts
A clean duct system not only goes a long way toward providing good indoor air quality but also improves efficiency. A professional duct cleaning service will have specialized tools to clean the entire duct system throughout your home, but a quick cleaning of the areas near registers can help. Remove each register cover with a screwdriver and then using the hose attachment on your household vacuum suck out any dust and debris within the ducting. You will most likely only be able to reach in a short distance. For complete cleaning, call a professional.
8. Test your safety detectors
It is of utmost importance that you ensure the proper operation of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors before firing up your furnace. Electronic devices are not flawless. Low batteries and other conditions can cause failure in an emergency. That is why it is important to regularly replace batteries and test these units to ensure the safety of your family in the event of an emergency.
9. Check your unit’s gas supply
Due to the dangerous nature of natural gas, we do not advise homeowners to touch or tamper with any components of the gas supply line or pilot light. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak call 911 immediately.Due to the dangerous nature of natural gas, we do not advise homeowners to touch or tamper with any components of the gas supply line or pilot light. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak call 911 immediately.
Due to the dangerous nature of natural gas, we do not advise homeowners to touch or tamper with any components of the gas supply line or pilot light. If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak call 911 immediately.
10. Get professional inspection & maintenance
Most furnace manufacturers recommend that you have your furnace tuned up by a licensed qualified heating technician each year. Performing regular tune-ups on your furnace will keep your heating system operating at its optimum efficiency. A yearly tune-up on your equipment will contribute to the extended life of your heating system. Proactive preventative maintenance help to minimize the risk of costly breakdowns and repairs and ensures its safe operation in your home. Contact our friendly and experienced staff at Holliday Heating & Air Conditioning today to schedule your heating system maintenance tune-up.