Kansas City has had a few cool days so far this fall, but the cold weather is just around the corner. Ensure that your furnace is ready for winter before the temperatures drop. Ideally, you should have your furnace inspected at least once a year by a qualified professional, like Overland Park Heating and Cooling. However, there are some things you can do yourself prior to a professional inspection to make sure your system is ready for the impending winter weather.
- Change your furnace filter. This is one of the easiest and most obvious do-it-yourself tasks. You should change your filter at least once every three months, or more often if it gets dirty quickly. Check it every 30 days to see if it requires replacement. If you are currently using a 1” flat fiberglass filter, consider swapping it for better quality, low resistant pleated filter or ask your HVAC professional about quoting a Healthy Climate filter cabinet and a MERV16 disposable filter. These filter types offer increased energy efficiency and improved air flow.
- Test your thermostat. You can do this by simply switching it from cooling to heating to make sure the furnace turns on. You can save money and increase energy efficiency by replacing an older thermostat with a new set-back thermostat.
- Clean your air vents and ducts. You can do this by removing the covers and using the extension hose on your vacuum. You should also have your ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years.
- Open the registers. Switch the registers throughout your home to the open position. You should do this even in unused rooms to allow optimal efficiency for your heating system.
- Check carbon monoxide and radon detectors. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide and radon detectors and install fresh batteries.
- Clear the surrounding area. Remove any items that are stores within three feet of your furnace, along with any items sitting on top of or in front of your air ducts and return vents to reduce the risk of a fire.
Signs of a Problem
As you begin using your furnace, if you experience any of the following problems, call a professional.
- Short cycling – if your furnace runs for only short periods less than three minutes before shutting off, it is short cycling. This can indicate that the thermostat is out of adjustment or the heat exchanger is overheating.
- Irregular flame – uneven flames or flames that lean to the back of the furnace are cause for concern. This could indicate dirty burners or a cracked heat exchanger.
- Odd noises or rumbling – these types of noises indicate a problem in force-air heating systems.
- Chronic illness – If you or other family members are experiencing frequent headaches or flu-like symptoms, it could be caused by combustion gases leaking from a cracked heat exchanger or carbon monoxide leaking from an exhaust stack.
- Soot deposits – This could indicate that your burners need adjusting or that you have a cracked heat exchanger.
Don’t wait until your furnace breaks down to take action. Having it inspected manually and doing basic maintenance will ensure your furnace works when you need it and will save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs. If you do have a system failure or need repairs, contact a trained HVAC professional, such as Overland Park Heating and Cooling