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Fall Furnace Maintenance Prevents Breakdowns in Winter

We’re approaching the start of fall, which means cooler days, pumpkin-laced foods, and football season. It also means it’s time for winter prep-work. Fall is when you want to double check all your winter defenses so they’re ready to go before the first cold snap. Having a furnace that works and is operating at maximum efficiency is key to ensuring a warm and inexpensive winter. An annual pre-winter maintenance of your furnace or central heating system does both. There’s a lot that you can do to get ready by yourself, and some things you should hire a professional for.

Fall Furnace Maintenance: What You Can Do

Change your filters

Dirty filters will restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your system. Once a filter becomes too clogged for proper operation it will decrease air quality and can even prevent operation of the unit. Newer heating and air conditioning systems even have a safety shut-off mechanism if the air filter becomes too dirty and there’s not enough airflow.

Move items away from the furnace

During the warm-weather part of the year, the space around your furnace might seem like a good spot for that box of excellent flammables, but you’ll want to move any objects to at least three feet away before you turn on the furnace. Excess heat buildup is dangerous. Modern furnaces should turn off but it’s not a risk you want to take. Blocking off a furnace air intake will also reduce efficiency, so be mindful of where you store your things in the winter.

Check your fuel level

Whether you use propane, natural gas, or a wood-burning stove, fuel is needed to create heat. If you’re not using an electric furnace or heat pump, check the fuel level in your tank and make sure it’s ready for the winter.

Test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

You should be doing this regularly but, if you haven’t recently, test all the safety sensors in your home. They’ll detect any unsafe substances flowing through your vents before they become a problem.

Fall Furnace Maintenance: What a Professional Should Do

In the fall, you should hire a professional service technician to inspect your heating unit before you start it up for the year. At Cassel Home Comfort, we do full service and maintenance checks for your furnace to make sure you’re ready for the winter. Regardless of who you call for your professional furnace maintenance, your technician should check the following things:

Clean the burner

That really bad smell when you turn on your furnace for the first time each year is due to dust and carbon buildup from the past year. A full professional cleaning makes sure the first time you start your system is both safe and burnt-dust free. The burner is also inspected for cracks, age-related stresses, and any other damage, preventing dangerous carbon monoxide and other issues.

Inspect the fuel system

From feed line to regulators, everything about the fuel system needs to be inspected to make sure that seals are intact and no holes have formed in the lines.

Lubricate, clean, and inspect the motor

A well-oiled fan with a quality belt improves airflow and ensures efficient use of your heating system.

Inspect the ventilation system and ensure proper airflow

The filter is only one place where airflow blockages can occur. A technician will check flow rates throughout the entire system to make sure there aren’t any problems with leaky ducts or damaged vents and registers. Your technician should check your vent connection pipe and chimney.

Calibrate your thermostat

Everything else in your home can work properly, but if your thermostat is misreading the temperature you’ll waste energy overheating your home. A quick calibration of your thermostat will ensure that the temperature you set is the temperature you’ll get.

Refer to this infographic from to find out if you need a furnace repair or replacement, what your furnace’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) is, and the benefits of furnace replacement.

Infographic - Furnace