5 Effective Ways to Winterize Your Heating System
The holiday season has finally arrived, and with this festive time of year comes the reminder that you’re running short on time to prepare your home for the coldest weather we experience annually. One of the most important aspects of doing so is ensuring that your heating system is in good condition and operating efficiently. You’re likely to be relying heavily on it over the next several months. When you’re spending so much more time inside the house with the thermostat cranked up, it puts extra pressure and strain on your furnace. If you don’t take certain measures to prepare the furnace for this extra workload, the heating unit is going to struggle to do its job. As a result, it’s going to use up excess energy, do a poorer job of providing heat and become more likely to experience a malfunction or breakdown. Fortunately, as long as you’re proactive, there are steps you can take now to keep your furnace in tiptop shape throughout the winter months.
1. Replace the Air Filter
Ideally, your furnace’s air filter should be checked on a monthly basis and replaced with a new one whenever necessary. This is vital because over time, as the air filter catches particles of dust, dirt and other loose debris to prevent them from clogging up your furnace, the filter itself will eventually become dirty and clogged. When this happens, your heating system suddenly has to exert much more energy just to pull air through the clogged air filter, which puts extra strain on the appliance. This is more likely to happen during the cold season since your furnace will probably be operating more consistently then. In addition to putting the heating system at risk for a breakdown, this causes your monthly heating bills to rise and can even worsen your indoor air quality. To combat this, just make sure that the filter gets replaced whenever it becomes clogged, and the start of winter is an excellent time to check on it.
2. Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up
It’s especially important that your furnace is operating at the highest possible level of efficiency during winter, and keeping up with regular maintenance is a crucial part of achieving this. During one of these tune-ups, which you should try to schedule at least once each year, your heating technician will make tweaks and adjustments to improve the furnace’s ability to do its job effectively and without wasting energy. This will keep you more comfortable and lower your monthly heating bills during the cold months. Additionally, the technician will check for any components that are wearing down, as well as anything that might cause a malfunction or breakdown in the near future. If they find anything, they’ll be able to take preventative measures, which could save you quite a bit of hassle and money.
3. Clean Out Your Vents
Your household most likely has several vents spread throughout it. These are connected to your ductwork and used by your furnace to distribute warm air around the home. Unfortunately, over time, things like dust, dirt, pet dander and other debris can build up inside these air vents. This not only causes the air quality of your home to worsen, but it also can result in them becoming slightly clogged up. That will have a negative effect on your furnace by making it more difficult to push warm air through and spread it around your household. This puts extra strain on the heating system and raises its operational costs.
To keep this from becoming a problem, make it a regular part of your routine to thoroughly clean all the vents in your home. They should each have a protective cover, which you can remove with a screwdriver. After that, you’ll simply need to use a vacuum cleaner with a long extension hose, and you should be able to remove all of those dust and dirt particles fairly easily.
4. Insulate Your Attic
Did you know that your attic is most likely a major source of heat escaping your home? Due to the fact that warm air rises, much of the heat that your furnace is providing can actually leak out through your roof, particularly if your attic isn’t insulated. Additionally, when the temperature drops significantly outside, cold air can also seep in through your roof as well. However, if you add insulation to the interior of the attic, it will create a barrier that helps keep heat trapped inside and also prevents that chilly air from making its way in. This will make life significantly easier for your furnace, as it won’t have to work as hard just to compensate for the warmth that’s constantly escaping through the roof. This will both save you money on energy bills and give you more control over your home’s internal climate.
There are many types of insulation you can choose from, with spray foam insulation typically being the most popular kind. This type of insulation is very effective, but it is on the pricier side and does require professional installation. Other types include blanket insulation, blown-in attic insulation, radiant and reflective insulation and foam board insulation, Each has its own pros and cons. Remember, only attempt to install attic insulation yourself if you know what you’re doing and have the proper equipment and experience.
5. Clean the Area Near Your Furnace
When winterizing their houses, many homeowners neglect to clean the direct area near their heating system. If there is clutter in the immediate vicinity of your furnace, it is not only a fire hazard, but it can also make it more difficult for the unit to consistently circulate warm air. Before the winter comes in full force, take the time to thoroughly clean this area, including removing any dust or debris. While you’re at it, use a vacuum extension hose to clean the interior of the furnace itself, as it can become clogged up with dust and dirt particles as well. Many people save time by scheduling all of their HVAC cleaning tasks at one time, including the furnace air filter, the home’s air vents and the general furnace area.
For more than 30 years, our team at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has been faithfully serving residents of the greater Seattle area. We are proud to have garnered the loyalty and respect of our community by consistently staying committed to the comfort of our customers. Besides our reliable heating services, we also do high-quality work with cooling systems, water heaters, electric systems and ductwork. We believe not only in hiring the best, most skilled technicians, but also in offering our clients the best possible customer service. Because we know how important your household needs and comfort truly are, we always make an effort to send our friendly technicians out for every job in a timely manner. This is why we also offer same-day or -night service for any emergency heating or cooling repairs.
Let us be the ones to handle your household needs. Call us up at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning today, and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled technicians.