Temperatures have been steadily dropping over the past few weeks, reminding homeowners to prepare their furnace for freezing temperatures. Here are five simple steps every homeowner should take to make sure their furnace is ready to meet the heating demands of winter months.
1. Conduct a visual inspection.
Look for holes, cracks or defects in the ductwork, which could allow waste gasses to re-enter the home. Check the outside ventilation cap to make sure it’s free of debris and blockages. If you notice any water stains on metal exhaust pipes, you could have moisture condensation within the flue or lack a proper flue cap that ends up allowing rainfall down the chimney.
2. Clear the drainage tube.
Turn off power to the HVAC system at the breaker and thermostat before cleaning the condensate drain outlet. Use soap and water to clean the condensate pan. Use white vinegar, diluted hydrogen peroxide or hot water with soap to flush the drain and clear away debris.
3. Replace the air filters.
Check the size and type of your current filter before purchasing a new one. A poorly-fitting replacement filter could damage your system and negatively impact air flow.
4. Dust and vacuum.
Clean supply and return air registers with a wet rag or vacuum and remove any furniture blocking airflow. You can also remove the registers to sweep out the dust and debris within the piping system. Use a screwdriver to unscrew air duct covers and grills and clean the grates with soap and water. Consider using a vacuum with a long hose for heavy duty cleaning.
5. Clean the flame sensor.
A flame sensor is a thin, metallic rod located in front of the flame stream inside the furnace which helps to prevent a dangerous buildup of unburned gas. If the flame sensor does not detect gas, it automatically shuts down the unit.
Over time, a flame sensor can become dirty from carbon buildup. Clean the sensor by gently rubbing the metal rod with a light grit sandpaper. After sanding, using a clean paper towel to wipe away any remaining dust.
Don’t hesitate to give Roger The Plumber a call with any questions or concerns — we’re happy to help you prepare for winter!