Sure, you won’t be thinking much about your heating system once winter’s over. But, before you forget about it completely, you do need to summerize your furnace. That means preparing it for when you’re not using it over the warmer months. Doing this:
Of course, winters in the towns west of Lake Michigan are no joke. We’ll have below-freezing temperatures in the Fox River Valley for pretty much all of January and February. Even by March, towns from Crystal Lake to Naperville start thawing out a little.
Your heating system will have put in a lot of hard work by the time spring arrives. And, it’s easy at that point to look forward to the warm weather, as hot and sticky as it can get around here.
But, you’ll need that heater again in just a few months. Let’s look at how you can prepare your system for its off-season, so it’s ready for next winter.
We’ll start with the steps you can take on your own. Then, we’ll talk about what a certified, licensed HVAC tech does to make sure you stay warm next winter.
Your furnace needs a professional touch to get it ready for next year. We’ll get into that in a moment. But, there’s at least one thing you can do yourself: change the air filter.
This is something we mention a lot. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s so important for your HVAC system.
The filter catches all sorts of dust and debris as it passes through the system. This prevents that junk from circulating through the air in your house.
When that happens, people’s asthma and allergies get triggered. And, in general, you start to feel crummy.
But, eventually, those filters get clogged. At that point, they also prevent air from flowing through the system. Now you end up with a system that can’t push enough heat into your house.
That leaves you chilly in the winter. And, your energy bills start climbing because the system uses more power to try and get the job done.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix: Just remember to swap out the filter at the beginning and end of the season. It’s inexpensive and straightforward.
The filters cost around $10 - $20. To replace it, all you need to do is find the slot where it’s located. Then, just slide the old one out and put the new one in. There are no parts to take off or tricks to installing it.
Now that you’ve done that, it’s time to call in the professionals. Here’s why.
Sure, there are a few steps you can take on your own. But, ultimately, you do need a professional to summerize your furnace. A licensed, certified HVAC tech will:
Let’s start with soot and scale. These are both byproducts of burning fuel. But, when there’s too much of these, your heating system becomes less efficient. In some cases, it can become unsafe.
So, what are these, exactly?
Soot is what gets left over when you burn fossil fuels such as gas or oil. It’s black and powdery and made up of carbon deposits and other fine particles.
Meanwhile, scale is essentially rust. These are flakes that are created when mineral buildup is exposed to water vapor and carbon dioxide. Scale builds up on pipes and falls onto burners.
Now, both of these can make it harder to heat your home. When they begin building up inside your system, they prevent the air from flowing properly. As a result, your heater uses more energy to get the job done.
And, both can affect your indoor air quality. If there’s too much of it in your HVAC system, eventually, it makes its way through the ductwork and into your home. But, you don’t want to breathe this stuff in.
Meanwhile, there are more risks when there’s soot build-up: It could start a fire or cause a carbon monoxide build-up.
The soot itself is flammable. So, too much of it becomes a fire hazard. And, as it gums your system, it also traps carbon monoxide.
Usually, this poisonous gas escapes easily through the exhaust. When it doesn’t, it can build up in the house. Then you can end up with poisoning.
Fortunately, these situations are easily avoidable. You just need a professional that knows how to get inside your system safely. They’ll clean out all the spots where soot and scale build up. It prevents problems before they happen.
After you’ve cleaned out soot and scale, your HVAC tech checks for wear and tear. If you’ve got an oil burner, now is the time to fill up.
Getting oil is easy enough. It’s usually just a quick phone call to your provider, and it’s cheapest in the warmer months. So, you’ll want to fill up now before the temperature drops, and the cost rises.
That leaves checking for wear and tear. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, didn’t I just have a tech come out for a check and clean before the winter season?”
If you did, then yes: Someone did go through those maintenance steps. But, that was before you put your HVAC system through the wringer for a few months.
Now’s a good time to have someone take another look at it especially if you noticed any weird sounds or odd behavior. Or, if the unit’s more than ten years old, it’s best to be prepared well ahead of next winter.
This way, you know if you have any significant problems on the way well ahead of time. And, you’re prepared if there’s a cold snap late in spring and you need to turn it on again.
Once spring rolls around, your furnace will be one of the furthest things from your mind. Taking a few steps toward getting it ready for the summer gives you peace of mind as well.
Compass Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. has provided expert, reliable furnace maintenance and furnace repair in Bloomingdale, IL for more than a decade. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (630) 504-8688.