How To Maintain Your Furnace All Winter Long

As school routines are back in full swing and the days grow shorter, you might find yourself thinking about the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season.

But before you start buying Halloween candy, it’s a good idea to put some thought into your home’s heating system before the weather turns colder. 

Similar to your own yearly physical, inspecting and maintaining your furnace over the winter months will not only help extend the life of your HVAC system – it will also help you head off any potential problems before they begin. 

Today we will cover how to maintain your furnace during this high use season.

Inspect Your Unit 

The first step you should take when maintaining your furnace is to give your unit a thorough inspection. 

Furnace Inspection Checklist

1. Check Your Combustion Air Duct

Depending on your furnace type, you may have a combustion air duct coming into your furnace room. 

These air ducts usually look like large, vertical tubes and are close to your furnace system. When you inspect your furnace, it’s critical that you make sure this vent is not blocked.

According to Structure Tech, “To help reduce the effects of uncontrolled air leakage, houses get sealed up as tight as possible and a single hole is created to bring outdoor air into the basement, usually right next to the furnace. 

When a combustion air duct is properly installed, it will help prevent the house from getting depressurized. The air is allowed to come in to the house as needed through a large opening, and all of those other holes in the walls can be sealed up.”

In order for your combustion air duct to work well, it’s necessary to check and make sure the vent is not blocked. Checking your duct and making sure air can flow freely should be a part of your annual furnace inspection. 

2. Make Sure Your Furnace Is Operational

For this step, simply turn your thermostat up about 5 degrees, ensure that your furnace kicks on, and watch to make sure it doesn’t turn off again until the thermostat is satisfied. 

This quick test can help you head off numerous problems before you first need your heat on this winter. 

If your furnace shuts off too soon, or doesn’t kick on at all, you will probably need an HVAC professional to investigate these issues.  

3. Inspect Your Supply Registers

Before you turn on your furnace, go around your home and make sure all supply registers are uncovered. Then, while testing your unit, make sure that warm air is coming from each register. 

The registers should be quite warm, but never painful to touch. If they are too hot, or if the air coming from them seems cool, this indicates a potential furnace issue. 

Replace Filters

Checking and replacing your filters as needed is one of the most crucial things you can do to keep your HVAC system maintained. 

Filters keep your furnace clean. Dirty filters restrict air flow, which means your home doesn’t heat up the way it should, and your furnace needs to work harder and run hotter. 

This can greatly reduce your system’s life, but simply checking and replacing your filters can prevent these issues.

Depending on your filter type, you will need a replacement every 3-12 months. 

If you aren’t sure when your filter was last changed, take a look at it. If it looks dirty, it’s safest to exchange it for a new one. 


Seal And Insulate 

By keeping your home insulated and sealed well, you reduce how hard your HVAC system has to work over the winter. 

Brennan’s HVAC says, “One of the easiest ways to make sure you stay warm in the winter is to seal any air leaks that are visible in your home’s envelope. If you see sunlight streaming in through any gap or hole, making repairs should be a priority. Otherwise, these leaks will quickly let warm air out, increase your energy bill, and leave you freezing.”

After checking your doors and windows, and sealing any visible leaks, it’s a good idea to install some heavy drapes over your windows for the winter. This will further eliminate the escape of cold air and ward off any drafts.


Install And Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The winter season puts homeowners at a much higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. 

To keep your family safe, you should have a qualified HVAC technician inspect your unit annually to make sure there are no obvious malfunctions. 

It’s also incredibly important that you have working CO detectors throughout your home before you start using your furnace for the winter. 

Clean Your Vents And Ducts

Before you officially kick on your furnace for the winter, make sure your vents and ducts are as clean as possible. 

Dusty, dirty vents can be a fire hazard, so it’s best to vacuum them out as a part of your seasonal maintenance. 

To get a thorough tutorial on vent cleaning, check out this article. 

HVAC systems are expensive to replace. If you want yours to run smoothly and keep your home warm and cozy for years to come, properly maintaining your furnace is a must.

At TFF HVAC, we recommend a professional yearly furnace inspection to all of our customers. Call and schedule a furnace check-up with us today, and you will have peace of mind all season long.