How to Prepare Your Furnace for the Winter

Winter is quickly approaching, and even though Florida is notoriously hot, you’ll still want to make sure your heater is in working order. This means you need to know how to prepare your furnace for the winter. There are a few things you need to do to prepare. We’ve created a checklist on what to do before turning your furnace back on. 

1. Test Your Furnace Before the Cold 

Having to turn on the heat is not a frequent occurrence in Florida, but it is occasionally needed in the Gainesville or Jacksonville area. The last thing you want to do is to turn on your furnace for the winter only to find your heat isn’t working. 

Before the cold begins to creep in, you’ll want to test your furnace by turning on the house heater before it’s needed. Listen for any strange noises, and take note of any burning smells. There may be a burning smell initially, but this should go away after a few moments. If any other smells or noises occur, turn off your furnace, and call in a professional for an inspection.

ac tech explaining hvac system to customer

2. Check and Change Your Filter 

Regularly checking and changing your air filters are a part of normal HVAC maintenance, and it’s no different for your furnace. A clean filter helps improve your air quality, keep your HVAC system energy efficient, and avoid bad performance or costly repairs. 

Before turning on your furnace, check the furnace filter to make sure it’s still in good condition. If the filter is noticeably dirty or discolored, buy a new filter and replace it. 

3. Perform Routine Maintenance

In order to keep your furnace running properly, you’ll want to run a furnace tune-up. Some of these components can be maintained on your own.

  • If you have a gas furnace, ensure that your pilot light is lit. The pilot light is often located on the bottom of your furnace or hidden behind a small, visible window on your furnace. If it’s not lit, you can relight it by yourself; however, if you start to smell gas, call in the professionals. 
  • Check your circuit breaker. If your heater won’t turn off, it may just be a simple flip of the switch on the circuit breaker. If you find the circuit breaker is tripping even after you turn it on, an electrician should be called in to check for wiring issues. 
  • Read your owner’s manual to see what oil your furnace requires or if it requires it all. If it does, turn off the furnace, open the blower motor caps, and lubricate with the liquid required for your furnace. 

Other furnace maintenance is best left to the professionals. 

  • Only a professional HVAC technician should clean the heat exchanger for the best results. A professional will also be able to see if there are any problems or cracks that may warrant a replacement. 
  • You’ll want to have clean ducts, so your heater can efficiently warm your home. We never would recommend cleaning out your ducts on your own, so it’s best to have a professional clean them for you

4. Purchase a Carbon Monoxide Detector 

If you have a gas furnace, you’ll want to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. While the risk is low, especially if you keep your furnace well-maintained, a carbon monoxide detector adds an extra layer of protection for you and your home. It’ll alert you if you have a gas leak or a build of carbon monoxide. Exit your home if your carbon monoxide detector goes off. 

If there’s a strong smell of gas when turning on your gas furnace for winter, turn off your furnace immediately, and call an HVAC professional.

5. Consider Replacing Your Furnace 

If your furnace is around 15 to 20 years old or you’re having trouble with a high heating bill, it may be time to purchase a new, more energy-efficient furnace. A heat pump is a great option for homes in Florida since it’s pulling from the heat already outside to warm your house. You’ll want to determine if you need to replace your furnace before the winter so that you can have a warm, comfortable home when the cold comes. Right now, during the fall, is a great time to start having these conversations with your HVAC technician. 

Repair or Replace Your Furnace This Winter with Comfort Temp

With over 35 years of experience in furnace and heater repair and installation, Comfort Temp is here to help keep your home warm and comfortable this winter season. We provide maintenance and repair services as well as installation if you need a new heating system. We even offer our customers 24/7 emergency service for all your furnace needs! If you’re looking for a professional touch on your furnace needs this winter, call Comfort Temp!

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