There isn’t always a chill in the air, but when September arrives, it’s time to think about fall heating maintenance. Your furnace has been sitting in your attic or utility closet doing nothing since April. It needs a little tender loving care to make sure it is ready to keep you warm all winter long.
Why Fall Heating Maintenance is Important
Have you ever taken four or five months off from an activity like bicycling or jogging? If you have, you know that it is pretty hard to start back up and have your body work like it did when you were in good form months earlier. When you turn your furnace back on, it doesn’t have a chance to slowly work back into performing. It has to perform at full speed right away. To ease this transition, here are some fall tips to make sure your furnace is ready to go when the first cold nights hit the Charlotte area in October.
Tips for Getting Your Furnace Ready for Winter
1. Replace Your Furnace Filters
For most of us, this is something that we should be doing all year anyway. Most air filters work for both your air conditioning unit and your heating system. So check the air returns in your home. If you haven’t changed the filters after a long summer of the air conditioner running constantly, there is going to be a lot of dust trapped. Make sure to check all the returns in your home. Keeping your filter clean can cut energy consumption 5 to 15 percent and usually should be done every month. . If you are not sure what type of filter to use, you can take a look at our guide to replacing filters.
2. Clean around the furnace, ducts and returns. And the Outdoor Heat Pump Unit.
If your furnace is in the attic, it doesn’t get clean too often. A quick trip with the vacuum in the area can help make sure there isn’t a lot of dust around to interfere with the way the furnace is working. Dirty equipment fails faster. Clean up any dust on the air return grates that hasn’t made it to the filter yet. This will help with air flow and keep the system running smoothly. And if there is something in the way of your vents, move it so the air can flow freely.
If you have a heat pump, you’ll also want to make sure there isn’t a build up of leaves and yard debris around the outdoor unit. Keeping proper airflow outdoors will help keep your heat pump working well through the winter months.
3. If you have Propane – Time to Get the Tank Filled Up
The majority of furnaces in Charlotte’s urban areas run on natural gas. If that applies to you, you don’t have to worry about this step, because you’ll always have a supply of fuel being piped into your home. But, if you are in a more rural area that doesn’t have natural gas supplied, it makes sense to fill up your propane tank early. When demand is low, you’ll pay less. Plus, you don’t want to be low on fuel if a cold snap swoops in earlier than expected.
4. Check Your Thermostat
For programmable thermostats, you might have two different settings. Most newer programmable thermostats will automatically switch back and forth between heating and cooling. This can be a great benefit during the transition of fall, when night temperatures may make it a little chilly in the morning, but the day still heats up. You’ll want to check your temperature settings if you have it set to auto because there is always a temperature spread built in. If you turned your air conditioning down over the summer, it may have pushed your heating settings down too. Even if your thermostat doesn’t have an auto setting, this is a good time to verify your heating program is still where you want it to be.
5. Consider a Professional Furnace Cleaning and Safety Check
Hiring a professional to provide planned service on your heating system is always a good idea. We are not just telling you that because we do this type of work. See what Fox Business News Says about Fall Heating Maintenance. We sometimes offer specials on single visits and we always offer a maintenance plan as an option to our customers.
Research and our own experience over time have shown that keeping your systems clean can save you as much as 30% on heating and cooling costs. That means the service could pay for itself just in costs savings. In addition, systems that are maintained properly can last up to 40% longer than those that are poorly maintained. A furnace cleaning and safety check with our 21-point inspection will reduce your chances of an unexpected breakdown over the winter months. In addition, we check to make sure everything is venting properly and there is no deadly carbon monoxide gas leaking into your home due to a faulty furnace.
Most HVAC companies perform similar fall heating maintenance, so if you are not in the Charlotte area, check for a reputable local contractor to do this for you.