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Fall Furnace Checklist: Is My HVAC System Ready For Winter?

fall furnace checklistOur fall chill will soon become winter brrr and Minnesota homeowners are getting ready for the season — mowing one last time, covering the gardens, and storing the deck and patio furniture. Then, you should make sure you're ready for indoor comfort this winter by getting your furnace in tip-top shape. Here’s a handy furnace checklist to use as a guide.

The Basics to Furnace Maintenance

Before the snow flies, use these six easy steps to ensure your furnace runs smoothly

  • Clear the area around your furnace. Over the summer months, toys, delivery boxes, and other items can get left too close to your furnace, which becomes a safety issue during the heating months. Items that are too close to a gas furnace can present a fire hazard. Check with the manufacturer to find out their clearance-to-combustible requirement, but just keeping the furnace clear of anything combustible will work. That goes for a gas water heater, too.
  • Check the furnace venting. If you have metal venting, keep flammable items at least six inches away. Be sure there are no signs of water leakage.
  • Vacuum around the area and dust the unit itself.
  • Change or clean the filter. Start the season right with a clean or new filter. Then, be sure to check the filter at least monthly throughout the heating season and replace/clean it as soon as it shows dirt and dust. Keeping a clean filter in your unit is the easiest — and cheapest — way to keep your system running efficiently.
  • If you have a condensing furnace, clean the condensate drain.
  • Inspect all your registers and grills to be sure they’re free of dust and debris and allow a free flow of air.

Go the Extra Step With These Furnace Checks

If you’re a DIYer who’s comfortable removing furnace panels and digging inside, here are a few more things to check.

  • Check inside the blower compartment and inspect the blower wheel (or fan motor and blade) for dirt and debris.
  • Check the burner area to be sure it’s clean. If not, vacuum or clean with compressed air.
  • Make sure the electrical connections are tight and nothing is frayed.

Read our Complete Guide to Buying a New Furnace

Time to Call the Pros?

Not everyone wants to open up their furnace and do their own maintenance. So, if it’s been a year or more since you’ve had a professional inspection and cleaning, this would be a good time to call your HVAC pros. They’ll be able to:

  • Inspect and clean the blower assembly
  • Check and clean the blower housing
  • Inspect the fan belt and lubricate the motor
  • Check and clean the evaporator coil, drain pan, and condensate drains
  • Inspect and clean the burner assembly
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Inspect and troubleshoot electrical controls
  • Check your ductwork for proper airflow and identify any leaks

Most HVAC pros recommend an annual inspection. That will ensure that your furnace is running efficiently and safely for the heating season. It’s also a good way to identify any repairs that are needed early, while repair costs are lower and you can avoid an emergency situation.

Need to find a reliable HVAC pro? Just use our convenient dealer locator to find one near you.

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