What to Do Before Turning on Furnace This Fall

September 6, 2017

As the seasons change, you begin depending on your furnace for home comfort. Before you turn on the heater for the first time this fall, follow these steps to ensure everything is working properly and safely.

Replace the Air Filter

If you went all summer without changing the filter, fall is the perfect time for a fresh start. It’s recommended that you check your furnace air filter every month during peak heating season. Change it when it appears dirty or every three months, whichever comes first.

Change the Batteries in the Carbon Monoxide Detector

Malfunctioning natural gas furnaces have a small chance of leaking carbon monoxide gas into your home. While the risk is low, a leak could be hazardous to your health. Low concentrations can cause fatigue or headaches, while high exposure can be life-threatening.

To protect you from these dangers, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed on each floor of your home, including right outside sleeping areas. Test the detector monthly and change the batteries every fall before turning on the furnace for the first time.

Make Sure the Furnace Has Adequate Clearance

Go to the basement or utility room where the furnace is located and make sure nothing is sitting around the base or leaning up against the sides of the furnace. Move all combustible items, including rags and paper towels, away from the heating equipment. Never store flammable products in the same room as the furnace.

Check the Exhaust Vent

Gas and oil furnaces expel fumes to the exterior of your home, either through the sidewall or a chimney on the roof. Make sure this exhaust vent is free of obstructions—which may include animal nests, snow, or other debris—before you turn on the furnace. Otherwise, exhaust fumes could backdraft into your home, creating a health hazard.

Check Return & Supply Registers

To ensure adequate airflow to every room, vacuum return and supply registers with the brush attachment. Then, open the louvers all the way to encourage the best airflow. Finally, make sure no furniture, rugs, or drapes block the registers.

If you have unused rooms, you may want to close the air vents in an attempt to save energy. Just make sure you close no more than one out of five registers to prevent throwing off the system’s balance, which can cause unnecessary equipment strain.

Have the Ductwork Sealed

If your cooling bills were higher this summer than you would have liked, heating bills will probably be high in the winter as well. Leaky ductwork is a common culprit. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork, eliminating costly air leaks and helping your home stay more comfortable this winter.

Schedule Routine Furnace Maintenance

Fall is the ideal time for furnace maintenance because it sets up the equipment for a successful heating season free from breakdowns. Maintenance also encourages smooth operation, which results in lower utility bills and a more comfortable home. Tune-ups can even prolong the life of your equipment if you make it a habit every fall before turning on your furnace.

Get Help Preparing Your Furnace for Fall

If you need help with any of these fall tasks in your Southwestern Ohio home, Rick’s Heating & Cooling is here to help. We provide expert duct sealing and furnace maintenance for our customers in the Cincinnati area. We can also replace your air filter, change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector, and help with other tasks to prepare your furnace for fall.

Contact us today or fill out the contact form on this page to schedule the furnace services you need.