Is My Furnace Ready for Winter?

Autumn is clearly here, and the weather has started to shift accordingly. Days have become significantly shorter, temperatures have begun to drop, and it is now only a matter of time before the first smattering of snow starts to dot the landscape here in the Boston area. As a homeowner, that means now is the time to perform your annual winterization chores. Winterization is the process of preparing your home for winter by protecting cold-sensitive features, cleaning certain areas, and performing other types of general maintenance.

One area of your home that needs to be winterized is something you will be depending on quite a bit over the next several months: your furnace. Without a reliable furnace, life at home can become a cold, miserable experience that absolutely nobody wants to have to endure. However, that’s what you’ll be faced with if your furnace quits on you in the middle of a freezing winter day. Is your furnace ready for winter? This blog will help you prepare it. Here are a few easy-to-follow furnace preparation tips. When you are finished with this list, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your furnace is ready to go.

Change Your Air Filter

Step one of your furnace winterization is to change your air filter. Believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of furnace problems can be traced back at least partially to a dirty air filter. When you consider that the average air filter is just a few dollars and readily available at most hardware stores, there really is no excuse not to have a clean filter at all times.

Under normal use, an air filter will last around three to four months. However, if you run your HVAC system often, you have indoor air quality problems, or you have one of several factors that can cause an air filter to fill up faster (such as smoking indoors or having pets) then you may have to change your filter every two to three months, or even as often as every month. We recommend at least checking your filter every month and then changing it as necessary.

Check Batteries in Carbon Monoxide Detectors

You should always have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace’s indoor unit. Gas and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of their heating process, and the burner is located in your indoor unit. While the heat is transferred to your air in a way that’s safe and effective through a heat exchanger, cracked exchangers and a host of other issues could result in carbon monoxide slowly leaking into your home’s air. Carbon monoxide is toxic and can be extremely dangerous to you and your loved ones.

We recommend changing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every year and testing your detector during your winterization process. That way you can be confident that you will be notified if carbon monoxide levels get too high, indicating a heating problem.

Clear Space Around Outdoor Compressors

Heat pumps are becoming popular choices for heating equipment, particularly among those who have strong convictions about the environment and their home’s carbon footprint. These systems have been shown to effectively and efficiently produce heat down to temperatures well below freezing, even as low as the mid-teens in Fahrenheit. Plus they don’t actually burn a fuel source, meaning no carbon exhaust to be concerned about.

However, these systems rely on unimpeded airflow around your outdoor compressor, and that means you need to keep the area around your compressor clean and free of debris. This means take this opportunity to clear away a three-foot radius by mowing long grass, trimming intruding bushes, and sweeping away other debris or intrusions that might be in the vicinity. If snow falls and builds up around your outdoor unit, clearing it away will keep this airflow moving optimally.

Schedule Comprehensive Professional Maintenance

Professional maintenance is a vital part of ensuring your system’s short-term and long-term health and viability. Professional maintenance includes a number of different services, all designed to ensure that your furnace will run at peak efficiency and capacity all winter long. A well-maintained furnace is also one that stays under warranty and is less likely to break down, meaning you more than likely won’t have to worry about your system quitting on you in the middle of a freezing winter night. That kind of peace of mind is invaluable for homeowners everywhere!

Let Winters Home Services keep your furnace running great all winter long! Dial (617) 977-3101 today to schedule your appointment.