Preparing a Heating Unit for Winter

Winter’s almost here! Before the cold weather arrives in full force, consider adding heater and furnace prep to your winter checklist. Furnaces and other heating units remain an essential part of keeping you and your loved ones warm in the wintertime. By preparing your furnace for winter, you can avoid setbacks before needing to rely on the unit. Contacting an HVAC professional to prepare furnaces, or other heating units, can ensure your furnace can keep you comfortable all winter long.

A few simple tips can help make winter furnace prep easier!

Test CO Detectors

When using a gas furnace or gas heating unit, check the carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Gas furnaces and other appliances that use gas to provide heat can cause carbon monoxide to build up if not properly ventilated.

When left undetected, carbon monoxide gas can turn fatal. According to the CDC, common symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, and an upset stomach. To keep you and your family safe, make sure to use functioning CO detectors!

Check the Intake Pipe and Heat Exchanger

A trained professional can check aspects of a furnace system like the intake pipe and heat exchanger. A blocked intake pipe can cause dangerous carbon monoxide to build up. The heat exchanger can benefit from annual cleaning to keep it running effectively. Professionals can check for cracks, which could cause the indoor air quality to go down.

An HVAC technician may also take care to look at other aspects of a furnace. They may clean and lubricate the blower motor and check or clean the burners. Regular furnace repair can act as preventative maintenance to help prevent a harmful CO leak.

Test Run

On a chilly day, turn on your furnace for a test run. Make sure to clear away furniture, toys, or other objects from around the heating vents before turning the unit on. Listen for abnormal noises or smells. If you hear or smell anything out of the ordinary, shut the unit off and contact an HVAC technician.

Keep an eye on the thermostat as well. If the temperature in the home doesn’t seem to match the temperature set on the thermostat, you may need a new thermostat.

Other heating unit prep tips:

  • Air filters - furnaces and other HVAC units use air filters which require regular cleaning or replacing. If the air filter becomes clogged with dirt and debris, the unit requires more energy to maintain the same air flow and keep the space comfortable. Clean filters regularly to keep your unit running efficiently.
  • Check ductwork for leaks - leaky air ducts can let in cold air from the outside or release warm air from your heating unit into the outdoors. Having a professional look at the ductwork and repair leaks can keep the unit running more efficiently and may reduce heating bills.
  • Check the chimney - if the heating unit uses a chimney for ventilation, it should see annual cleaning. Obstructions in a chimney, like bird or animal nests as well as creosote deposits, can build up and eventually pose a fire hazard.
  • Cover the AC unit - if you use different units for heating and cooling, you can choose to cover the outdoor air conditioning unit. Choose a cover that covers only the top of the air conditioner and allows the system to breathe to prevent condensation and moisture from building up inside. If using a heat pump or other HVAC system that can both heat and cool the home, disregard this tip. Find out more tips to winterize an outdoor air conditioning unit here.

Stay warm this winter with these furnace and heating system prep checks! In need of a new furnace? HomElectrical carries a selection of electric furnaces and other heating options to fit your needs.

Avery Dietzen
Avery Dietzen

Originally from Wisconsin, Avery earned her degree in English before making the trip down to the Atlanta, GA area. Writer by day, reader by night, she prides herself on having a creative outlook and tries to instill that in everything she writes. As a content writer for HomElectrical, she uses her skills to share tips and tricks about lighting, HVAC, and going green. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, painting, hanging out with her dog, or spending time with family and friends.

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