Winter in Nebraska can be harsh, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. To ensure that your home remains a warm and comfortable sanctuary, it’s crucial to prepare your furnace for the cold months ahead.
Our team at Star City Heating & Cooling is here to guide you through the process. We’ve provided furnace installation, repairs, and routine maintenance to Lincoln, NE and the surrounding communities for years, and we know all about how to make your heating equipment ready for the challenges winter brings.
DIY Winter Furnace Prep
The following tasks are all things you can (and should) do on your own to get your furnace winter-ready.
Cleaning or Changing Your Filter
Keeping your furnace filter clean is one of the most important and simplest ways to maintain your system’s efficiency and prolong its life. Here’s how to do it:
- Locate Your Furnace Filter: The filter is usually found inside the furnace or the return air vent.
- Check the Filter Type: Determine whether you have a reusable or disposable filter. Reusable filters can be cleaned, while disposable filters must be replaced.
- Inspect and Clean/Replace the Filter: If you have a reusable filter, use a vacuum to remove dust, and then rinse it with water. Allow it to dry completely before reinstalling. If you have a disposable filter, check its condition. If it’s dirty, replace it with a new one.
- Check the Filter Size: Make sure you’re using the correct size for your furnace when buying and putting in new filters. The required size is usually printed on the side of the filter.
- Install the Filter Correctly: Make sure the filter is installed in the right direction. There should be an arrow on the filter indicating the proper airflow direction.
- Regularly Replace or Clean the Filter: During peak heating season, check the filter every month and replace or clean it as needed.
Setting Your Thermostat
Your thermostat plays a vital role in maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature. Here’s how to adjust it:
- Switch to ‘Heat’ Mode: Most thermostats have different modes. Set yours to ‘Heat.’
- Set the Temperature: Choose a comfortable temperature setting. Most people are comfortable at 68°F (20°C) during the day when they’re at home and awake. You can lower it while you’re asleep or away from home.
- Consider a Programmable Thermostat: If you don’t already have one, consider installing a programmable smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule.
- Check the Batteries: If your thermostat is battery-operated, make sure the batteries are fresh before the heating season starts.
Clearing Your Vents & Registers
Make sure all vents and registers in your home are free of obstructions to ensure proper airflow:
- Inspect All Vents and Registers: Walk through your home and visually inspect each vent and register.
- Remove Obstructions: Ensure that no furniture, curtains, or rugs are blocking the vents.
- Dust and Clean: Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from the vents and registers.
Checking Your System Controls
Make sure your furnace’s system controls are working properly:
- Test the System: Turn on your furnace to make sure it starts up and runs properly. Listen for any unusual sounds.
- Check the Thermostat: Ensure that the furnace produces heat and responds to the thermostat’s settings.
- Inspect the Safety Controls: Make sure that the system’s safety controls are functioning properly.
Winter Furnace Prep Tasks for Professionals Only
Not every pre-season furnace maintenance task can be done without help. The following are all important jobs that should only be carried out by our Star City professionals.
Annual Furnace Tune-Ups
Your furnace is a complex machine with many sensitive components that require professional expertise to clean or adjust. Here’s what our team at Star City will do during a routine furnace tune-up:
- Inspect the Heat Exchanger: Check for any signs of corrosion, cracks, or damage.
- Check the Burners: Ensure they are igniting properly and burning cleanly.
- Examine the Blower Motor: Verify that it’s running efficiently and check its amp draw against the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Test the Ignition System: Make sure it’s working reliably and safely.
- Inspect the Flue Pipe: Look for any blockages, leaks, or signs of corrosion.
- Check the Safety Controls: Ensure all safety mechanisms are in place and functioning properly.
- Inspect the Electrical Connections: Tighten any loose connections and measure the voltage and current on the motor.
Inspecting & Cleaning Ductwork
Dust and debris can build up in your home’s ductwork over time, which can affect your system’s efficiency and indoor air quality. Here’s what Star City’s technicians will do when you call us for duct cleaning:
- Inspect the Ductwork: Check for any signs of damage, leaks, or blockages.
- Clean the Ducts: Use specialized tools to thoroughly clean the ducts.
- Seal Any Leaks: If any leaks are found, they will be sealed to improve efficiency.
Calibrating the Thermostat
An improperly calibrated thermostat can lead to inefficiency and discomfort. Here’s how our technicians will handle it:
- Test the Thermostat: Check its accuracy and recalibrate it if necessary.
- Ensure Proper Placement: Make sure it’s located away from drafts or heat sources, which can affect its readings.
- Check the Wiring: Ensure all connections are secure.
Lubricating Moving Parts
Parts of your furnace system move constantly when in operation, and they need to be lubricated to prevent wear and tear. Here’s how we’ll help:
- Identify Moving Parts: Locate all moving parts within the furnace system.
- Clean and Lubricate: Clean and apply a suitable lubricant to each moving part to ensure smooth operation.
- Check for Wear and Tear: Inspect the parts for any signs of wear and recommend replacement if necessary.
Let’s Work Together to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter
By following this checklist and contacting us at Star City Heating & Cooling for the tasks that require expert attention, you can ensure that your furnace is ready to keep your home warm and comfortable throughout the winter months in Nebraska.
Remember, regular maintenance not only prolongs the life of your HVAC system but also improves its efficiency and safety. Don’t wait until the cold sets in; prepare your furnace for winter today!