Check Your Furnace for Winter | Heating Maintenance Checklist
The weather has finally cooled down, which means that winter is right around the corner. And we know just how harsh NJ winters can be! Right now is the best time to check your furnace and conduct a heating maintenance inspection to ensure a safe and cozy winter.
In order to maintain your manufacturer's warranty, extend the lifespan of your system, decrease the chances of a heating-related fire, and prevent breakdowns in the depths of winter, remember to schedule your professional heating maintenance appointment in the fall. Besides having your furnace/heating system inspected by a professional every year, we’ve compiled a list of things that you can do right now to help spot potential problems and safety concerns and fix them before winter hits.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do as a homeowner to supplement your professional furnace tune-up!
DIY Furnace Tune-Up Maintenance Checklist
- Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by pressing and holding down the test button every month. Batteries should typically be replaced every 6-8 months, and whole devices replaced every 5-10 years (consult the manufacturer's guidelines). Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home, outside every sleeping area, and near your water heater/furnace. Consult this map for ideal smoke and carbon monoxide locations:
- Inspect your furnace flue and vents for proper ventilation of dangerous combustion gasses. Since gas fumes are moist, some indicators of a venting problem include moisture on your windows and rust/soot on the grill panel in front of your furnace. Other signs include an absence of upward draft in your chimney, rusting on pipe connections, water forming on your flue or vent pipe, and visible rust. You may also smell something sour. If you suspect a ventilation problem with you furnace, call a professional HVAC contractor right away! These ventilation problems could indicate a dangerous carbon monoxide and methane leak. If you suspect a CO problem, evacuate the home immediately, seek medical attention if you are experiencing CO poisoning symptons, and call the fire department or 911. Do not reenter your home until a professional tells you it is safe to do so. You may not know you have a faulty heating system until it's too late – click here for a Carbon Monoxide FAQ.
- Check your HVAC filter every 30 days and wait no longer than 90 days to clean or replace it. Replacing your air filter is the single most important thing you can do as a homeowner (besides scheduling profession maintenance) to keep your HVAC system running safely and efficiently.
- Improve your insulation, ventilation, and ducting with these home maintenance tips.
- Consider cleaning and sealing your ductwork with industry-leading technology. Gold Medal Service recommends Aeroseal duct sealing technology to seal those costly air duct leaks from the inside! You can also DIY seal your air ducts from the outside using mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape (ironically, duct tape is not a good solution to your duct leaks). Click here for home air sealing tips and tricks.
- Trim plants around your outdoor heat pump, replace old caulk and weatherstripping, and inspect your gutters, downspouts, chimney, and roof.
- Vacuum the dust and cobwebs out of your vents and registers; clean the fins on your baseboard heater. To check if you need professional duct cleaning, remove a few of your vent plates and stick a flash camera in there to take a look. If there is excessive dust and debris, call Gold Medal Service for professional duct cleaning and repair services.
If you are noticing skyrocketing energy bills, loud clanking and banging sounds, constantly tripping breakers, and uncomfortable air in your home, it may be time for an HVAC replacement. The five signs you need to replace your furnace are: old age, high energy bills, frequent repairs, uneven temperatures, and a yellow burner flame.
If your furnace is older than 15 years or air conditioner is older than 10 years, call Gold Medal Service for a professional diagnosis of your existing system. We will recommend the best solutions for your comfort, safety, and savings.
Considering the great savings of scheduling professional HVAC maintenance in the fall, scheduling a furnace tune-up should rank very high on your list of things to do this week.
Professional Furnace Tune-Up Checklist
In addition to increasing the safety of your home and family, a professional heating maintenance tune-up can save you 10-20% on your energy bills! During a heating system tune-up, these are just a few the measures we take to ensure added comfort, safety, and energy efficiency:
- Inspect and clean the blower compartment
- Clean or replace the air filter
- Clean the entire internal and external area
- Check pilot and fuel lines
- Ensure proper gas and flame operation
- Check the motor and fan bearings
- Lubricate motor
- Full diagnosis of heating system, including ventilation, ducting, and airflow
- Check safety controls, wiring, and all connections
- Test and calibrate thermostat
- And more!
While we are running a full diagnosis of your heating system, we can also recommend energy efficiency upgrades, such as:
- Reducing the nozzle (oil) or orifice (gas) size
- Installing a new burner and motorized flue damper
- Replacing the pilot light with an electronic spark ignition (gas).
No matter what kind of combustion-driven heating system you have, boilers, radiators, baseboard and radiant-floor heating, oil-fueled forced-air systems, or propane forced-air systems, Gold Medal Service has the expertise and tools necessary to ensure you receive superior heating maintenance service.
This week is also National Fire Prevention Week, with the theme, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.” Take a look at this infographic from the experts at Gold Medal Service to help prevent furnace fires:
For more heating safety tips this winter, watch this video from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) to learn how to "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires":
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While you are inspecting your furnace, it's also a good idea to look for signs of water damage and leaks in your basement. Learn How to Avoid Basement Flooding here.
To save even more energy this fall and winter season, consult this Home Energy Checklist from energy.gov.
Schedule your furnace maintenance in the fall before October 15th and get your air conditioner and water heater tuned up for FREE!
Give us a call today at 1-877-803-0511 or schedule an appointment online! We’re available 24/7 to solve all of your home service needs.