As temperatures continue to drop, homeowners will be turning up the heat on their thermostat. To help prepare for the cool seasons ahead, here’s what every homeowner should do.

1. Inspect and replace the furnace filter

A clogged filter will lower the home’s indoor air quality and hamper the heating system’s overall performance. Be sure to replace the filter before turning on the furnace.

2. Test the thermostat and igniter switch.

Check to see if the thermostat is able to turn on the furnace and reach the set temperature. If the furnace fails to turn on, the issue could be the igniter switch. Check the breaker box and make sure the switch connected to the furnace isn’t set to “off”. If the breaker is set to “on”, then you need to call a technician to repair the system.

3. Inspect the flue for debris and other obstructions.

Clear away leaves, birds’ nests and other debris that could start a fire while your furnace is operating. Be sure to also clean up any soot buildup.

4. Inspect and clean the burners.

Check for signs of debris or rust buildup on the burners. Use a brush and a vacuum to clean the burners and surrounding components.

5. Cover the AC condenser.

It’s important to cover the AC condenser to protect it from falling icicles. You can use bungee cords to tie a large trash can lid to the condenser.

6. Clean the heat exchanger.

Brush and vacuum the heat exchanger while the unit is disabled. Check for cracks, as they could indicate a carbon monoxide leak.

7. Lubricate and clean the blower motor.

If your brand of blower motor needs lubricating, turn off the power, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. You can then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings.

8. Fill up your tank, if you’re using propane or fuel oil.

If your furnace relies on propane or fuel oil, fill up the tank. You can call your local gas or oil supplier to top off your tank for the winter.

9. Remove obstructions from the vents.

Keep linens, boxes, furniture and other objects away from the supply and return air vents. 

10. Inspect the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors.

Call Roger The Plumber to have a trained professional inspect your chimney for carbon buildup and small animals. Be sure to also test and replace your carbon monoxide detector.