Before you turn on your furnace do this!

Published by Parisa Ostovari

Updated: September 29th, 2022

Fall is a busy time of year for many of us. In between football games and soccer matches, families are planning weekend outings to the local pumpkin patch and helping their kids find the perfect Halloween costume. As the calendar fills up, it’s easy to overlook scheduling a furnace inspection before the cold winter weather arrives.

You might be thinking, “I don’t need my furnace checked, I had that done last year,” but yearly routine maintenance is important because it ensures your furnace is working properly and safely. No one wants to have their furnace breakdown during the first snowstorm of the season.

One of the main concerns for your furnace is dust. Since many furnaces aren’t used for six months out of the year, dust accumulates inside the furnace and prevents it from working at peak performance. Maintenance by a trained HVAC service technician ensures your system doesn’t get bogged down and is working efficiently. If not properly cleaned every year, your system could be losing up to 40 percent of efficiency!

While most maintenance needs to be performed by a trained technician, there are steps you can take to prepare for winter.

Change your furnace filter

Changing your furnace filter regularly is the No. 1 thing homeowners can do to maintain their furnace. Standard 1-inch disposable filters should be changed monthly while high efficiency air cleaners can be changed less often — every three to four months. There are filters that last six months, but check with your HVAC professional for more information.

Changing your furnace filter is simple, and in just a few minutes your home’s HVAC system receives several benefits.

  • The furnace and air conditioning coil are protected from dirt build-up on the filter, which can cause your system to lose efficiency and make the coil freeze up.

  • The indoor air quality is improved and allergens are reduced because all the air in your home passes through the furnace filter. Disposing of used filters removes the trapped dirt, pollen and allergens from your home.

  • Changing the filter will help prevent furnace shutdowns. A clogged filter can cause your furnace to stop working because it completely restricts airflow.

Lastly, don’t overwork your system by setting the desired temperature too high. The perfect indoor environment in the winter is 72 degrees and 35 percent relative humidity. If you’re turning the thermostat up, that means your humidity could be too low. Using a humidifier to raise the humidity to 35 percent provides a comfortable living environment at a temperature of 72 degrees.

Taking these steps will help ensure your home stays warm and cozy all winter long, so the only thing you have to worry about is stocking the cupboard with enough hot chocolate and marshmallows.