Winter is well on its way here,  which means you need to  clean your furnace and it’s time to start preparing your home for colder temperatures. There are a few areas to focus on when doing your winter home prep, but your HVAC system is one of the most important for your family health and safety.

How to Clean Your Furnace Tips

Cleaning and Testing Furnaces for Winter | Thomas & Galbraith

Turn the Power and Fuel Supply Off

First and foremost, before you do anything else, turn off the electrical power and fuel supply to the furnace. Locate the off-on switch for the electric power and turn it to the off position. Locate the fuel shutoff valve; for an oil furnace the valve is typically near the oil tank, and for a gas furnace the valve is usually on the incoming gas pipe.

Do not, for any reason, skip this step. Your personal safety and the safety of your family depends on it.

Schedule Home Heating Maintenance

The best thing you can do to keep your heating system in good shape is to schedule a pre-season tune-up. Many homeowners wonder whether a furnace tune up is worth it, and the answer is yes, absolutely. A tune up allows you to catch and repair minor problems before they become major issues, and preventative maintenance is almost always easier and more affordable than repairing or replacing a broken-down heating system.

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Clean the Furnace Filter

The purpose of a furnace filter is to trap dust, dirt, and other airborne particles so they don’t get into itself and potentially damage internal components. Which means it gets dirty. A dirty furnace filter makes the furnace work harder, impairing efficiency.

While cleaning and/or replacing the filter is an important part of pre-winter maintenance, it should be performed more frequently than just then. In fact, you need to change fiberglass and paper filter furnace filters every one to two months. Electrostatic and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters need to be changed or cleaned every two to four months. If you have pets and/or family members who use tobacco products, the frequency of necessary filter changes increases.

Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

If you’re still using a manual thermostat, fall is the perfect time to upgrade to a programmable or smart system. Programmable thermostats can be set to adjust the temperature within your home automatically throughout the day. Optimizing your home’s energy efficiency and helping you save money on your heating bills.

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