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Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

Winter brings harsh weather and frigid temperatures to Colorado, but a hard-working furnace will keep the worst of the cold out of your home. Getting your furnace ready for the winter takes some planning and preparation, which you can do with the help of some tips from Affordable Plumbing and Heat. Otherwise, your furnace runs the risk of breaking down, losing its energy efficiency, or even becoming hazardous to be around.

Heating repair can be stressful and costly, so you'd probably prefer to avoid furnace repair service if possible. By following our steps and guidelines, you will get your furnace ready for winter. Below are some tips we put together to help you stay comfortable and save money this winter.

Your Furnace and Its Role in Your Home

Your furnace plays a vital role in your household. During the winter months, the heating system keeps your family warm and comfortable. It also protects sensitive parts of your home from being damaged by the cold, like your pipes and electronics. A system with such an important role needs a thorough upkeep regimen. That service is something we reliably provide here at Affordable Plumbing and Heat.

How the Cold Season Can Affect Your Furnace in Denver, CO

Winter is your furnace's time to display optimum performance. The harder your furnace needs to work to keep your home comfortable, the more wear-and-tear it undergoes. The stress can be so severe that your furnace needs heating repair. Some of the most common problems are cycling heat, sudden shutdowns, and issues with the pilot light/igniter switch. Most of these issues are easy to troubleshoot, but some may need professional heating repair.

Winter and Its Effect on Your Heating Costs

Every time your furnace kicks on, it consumes gas and electricity, both of which cost money. It probably comes as no surprise that your heating cost usually spikes during the winter months, especially if there's a cold snap or a notorious "polar vortex."

As a rule of thumb, the higher you set your thermostat, the more money you can expect to pay in your next heating cost. For this reason, many budget-savvy homeowners will prefer to turn the furnace down a few degrees and bundle up in sweaters and socks instead. Following a few tips to get your furnace ready for winter can keep it running at peak energy efficiency during the winter.

Benefits of Preparing Your Furnace for the Winter

Getting your furnace ready for winter yields numerous benefits, from saving money to reducing the odds of mechanical failure. With a properly prepared furnace, you can hopefully avoid furnace repair service. When you schedule a service from Affordable Plumbing and Heat, you can enjoy these benefits of tuning up your furnace:

  • Improved energy efficiency means lower heating cost
  • Fewer breakdowns and pricey heating repair work
  • Lengthen the AC's lifespan and put off a costly furnace installation for as long as possible
  • Smaller carbon footprint thanks to lower consumption of gas and electricity
  • Enhanced safety leading to lower odds of fires and dangerous gas leaks

Tips on Getting Your Furnace Ready

Taking care of your furnace is easy if you plan ahead and take preventative maintenance to heart. That means getting a head start while the weather is still warm instead of waiting for a cold snap. In fact, the U.S. Federal Management Agency recommends checking your furnace long before the winter weather arrives.

Preparing your furnace for winter takes a few hours of work on your part, and a few additional hours from a professional HVAC technician. Don't worry, as most maintenance steps are easy enough that you can treat them as a simple DIY project. Here are our tips to learn how you can best prepare your heater for cold weather:

Check Your Thermostat

First, check your thermostat to make sure the furnace is capable of turning on. Sitting all spring and summer long can take a serious toll on your heating system, and it may struggle sometimes to switch on the first time. To test the thermostat, flip the switch from cooling to heating and raise the temperature to a few degrees higher than room temperature. If you hear the furnace kick on within a minute, consider the test a success.

If nothing happens, don't panic - it could be thermostat batteries. Batteries only last from six months to one year, so there's a good chance they've died. Swap out the batteries for a fresh pair to see if that does the trick. If the furnace still isn't kicking on, it may be a wiring issue. Wiring issues need the assistance of our experts at Affordable Plumbing and Heat. Loose or disconnected wires can cause the whole system to stop communicating with the furnace. Let our heating repair specialists help you in dealing with this issue.

Replace the Air Filters

Inside your furnace is a disposable screen called an air filter. As the name implies, the filter catches dust, dirt, and other particulates from the air circulating around your home. Not only does this give you cleaner indoor air, but it also protects vital components within the heater from getting jammed up by dirt.

We recommend freshening up your furnace at least twice a year. If you have pets or have lots of pollen-producing plants near your home, you may want to schedule one every three months. Fall is the perfect time to freshen your air filter since it's probably clogged up with pollen from summer. Keeping your filters clean and fresh will help your furnace run better, prevent heater repairs, and can put off furnace installation by prolonging its lifespan.

Schedule Maintenance Work

Professional maintenance is one of the best investments you can make in the health of your furnace. During a maintenance appointment, our technician will give your heater a thorough inspection and tune-up. They'll clean out the dust, check the wiring, top off the coolant, and inspect the moving parts for damage. If they do notice any problems, they'll have a chance to make heater repairs. Catching problems early helps keep the cost of furnace repair service low. We recommend scheduling a furnace tune-up in the fall and an air conditioning tune-up in the spring.

Inspect the Chimney

When you burn a fire in your fireplace, smoke and ash rise up through the chimney. The chimney is essential to carrying soot and toxic fumes out of your home. Common issues you may encounter include a cracked flue, cracks in the masonry, and flammable animal nests. When left unchecked, these issues can lead to house fires and carbon monoxide build-up in your home.

Make Sure the Motor is Clean

Motors can get clogged up by dust and debris which impairs your furnace's performance. Simply remove the cover and, if needed, clean the built-up debris off the motor. Some furnace motors also need regular lubricating; you can check the user manual to see if yours needs this treatment. Cleaning out your motor is also a perfect opportunity to lubricating it if needed.

Test the Detectors

Every home should have a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. Furnaces can leak carbon monoxide: an odorless, lethal gas. Occasionally, these can catch fire when they haven't been maintained properly and are no longer in the best shape.

Detectors will tip you off right away if your furnace catches fire or leaks gas, but only if they're operational. That's why every detector has a test button on it. Hit the test button to make sure the device is still working. In addition to testing them, be sure to freshen up the batteries.

Ensure the Cleanliness of the Burners

Summer weather often leads to dust and debris accumulating on the heater's burners. To get the best performance out of your furnace, we recommend cleaning the burners before the cold weather arrives.

Check on the Blower

Inside your furnace is a blower motor that plays a major role in how effectively and efficiently your heater is able to function. The blower motor needs to be cleaned and oiled once a year to improve its performance and prevent it from making unusual noises during operation.

Inspect the Heating Vents

Air vents are small metal grills located in the ceilings and floors of your home; their job is to transport air from the furnace to different parts of your home. Sometimes, these vents get clogged up or blocked, which means your home is being heated consistently. Even worse, a blocked vent can cause your furnace to overheat.

Test the Igniter Switch

Electronic igniters are the pilot lights of the modern era. If you have a newer system, there's a good chance it has an igniter switch instead of an old-fashioned pilot light. If the ignitor isn't working, you can try pushing the reset button. If that doesn't fix it, check the breaker box. For more serious issues, contact a furnace repair technician immediately.

Bleed the Valves

Oil-burning furnaces need to have the oil freshened up periodically, just like a car getting an oil change. When you bleed the valves, you remove the old, dirty oil and replace it with fresh oil for the winter. We recommend having your furnace valves bled at least once a year; ideally, just before winter. Skipping the oil change will have a detrimental effect on the efficiency and safety of your heating system.

The Affordable Plumbing and Heat Advantage

When something goes wrong with your furnace, one of the first things on your mind is probably the cost of heating repair. Here at Affordable Plumbing and Heat, our commitment to fairly priced furnace repair is in our name. We don't think you should have to break the bank just to have a working furnace in your home. You can rely on us to provide competitively-priced, 24/7 emergency heating repair service and furnace installation to our Denver customers.

Get in Touch with Our Experts Today

Affordable Plumbing and Heat is a trusted provider of furnace repair service in Denver, Colorado. As a locally owned company, we understand the rigors and challenges of winter weather in Colorado's Front Range. Over our 20 years in business, our technicians have kept countless furnaces running with quality heating repair service.

Our heating repair technicians are licensed, trained, and ready to tackle any of your furnace repair needs. If your heater is so old that heating repair is no longer an option, we'll get you set up with reliable furnace installation. Call us today or fill out our online to schedule your next Colorado furnace repair.

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