As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, you may be starting to think about turning on your furnace for the first time this fall. While the weather’s still warm, prepare for a safe and comfortable autumn and winter by following these steps before you turn on your furnace.

Schedule Preventive Maintenance

For safety’s sake, you must have preventive maintenance performed on your HVAC system in the fall before you turn on your furnace. (For best performance year-round, you should have air conditioner maintenance performed in the spring as well.) This maintenance should include checking for rust and corrosion, cleaning the burners, and especially looking for any cracks in the heat exchanger. Even tiny cracks in the heat exchanger can allow poisonous carbon monoxide gas to leak into your home, endangering your family.

Cleaning the burners and checking that they’re lighting properly will improve safety and also the performance of your furnace. That way when that first really cold night comes, you can feel confident that your heat will come on and work as efficiently as possible.

Prepare Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

When a furnace burns oil or natural gas to create heat, it produces carbon monoxide gas as a by-product. During normal operation, that carbon monoxide should be vented out of your home. However, cracks in the heat exchanger, blockages in the vent, and other issues can cause that carbon monoxide to leak into your home instead. According to the CDC, over 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized for it. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for any home with a furnace to have carbon monoxide detectors.

You should install a carbon monoxide detector near each sleeping area. Before turning on your furnace in the fall, replace the batteries in your detectors and test each one to make sure that it’s still working. Carbon monoxide detectors generally last about five to seven years, so if your detectors are five years old or older, you might want to go ahead and replace them.

Clear the Area Around Your Furnace

If your furnace is located outside, check that shrubs, trees, and other plants haven’t grown up around it during the summer. These can obstruct airflow and potentially pose a fire hazard. You should have at least four feet of clearance on all sides.

If your furnace is located inside—for instance, in your garage—clear away any clutter around it. And be particularly mindful of any flammable items or chemicals. Store them well away from your furnace to avoid a major fire hazard.

Let the Air Flow

Before turning on your furnace, it’s also important to make sure that air will be able to flow freely through the system. Replace your intake air filter—and remember to continue replacing it regularly all year long. Once a month is a good schedule for most households.

Also make sure that the return and supply vents aren’t obstructed by furniture, curtains, rugs, or other items. Don’t close registers to avoid heating rooms—this can actually cause air pressure problems in your system as a whole.

Test Your Thermostat

Once your furnace has been inspected, your carbon monoxide detectors are prepped, the area around it is clear, and the air is ready to flow, it’s time to try turning it on—before you need it! Set the temperature a couple of degrees higher than the current inside temperature, then switch the furnace on from the thermostat and see if it comes on.

If it does come on and runs until reaching the set temperature, congratulations, your furnace is ready for the winter! However, if it doesn’t come on, it may simply be a problem with your thermostat. Try changing the thermostat batteries first. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to get a new thermostat. You may want to consider upgrading to a programmable smart thermostat that can help you save energy while keeping your home comfortable.

Replace an Older Furnace with a New High-Efficiency Model

If your furnace is more than fifteen years old, you might want to consider replacing it this fall with a new, high-efficiency model. Fall and spring are the slow seasons for the HVAC industry, which means it’s the best time of year to replace your unit. It’ll be easier to schedule the replacement, and sometimes HVAC installers and manufacturers will offer discounts or rebates.

Older furnaces generally have an AFUE rating of 56-70%. That means they only convert 56-70% of the energy they consume into heat. The rest is wasted. Newer high-efficiency furnaces, on the other hand, have AFUE ratings of 90-98%. That can mean big savings on your energy bills. Replace your older furnace before it’s time to turn it on, and you can enjoy those savings all winter long.

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What is Air Duct Cleaning?

by forceda on March 28, 2018

Most people are now aware that indoor air pollution is an issue of growing concern and increased visibility. Many companies are marketing products and services intended to improve the quality of your indoor air. You have probably seen an advertisement, received a coupon in the mail, or been approached directly by a company offering to clean your air ducts as a means of improving your home’s indoor air quality. These services typically — but not always — range in cost from $350.00 to $550.00 per heating and cooling system, depending on: the services offered

  • The size of the system to be cleaned
  • System accessibility
  • Climatic region
  • Level of contamination

If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home’s living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them. If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it is important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so. Failure to clean a component of a contaminated system can result in re-contamination of the entire system, thus negating any potential benefits. Methods of duct cleaning vary, although standards have been established by industry associations concerned with air duct cleaning. Typically, a service provider will use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris in ducts, then vacuum them out with a highpowered vacuum cleaner.

In addition, the service provider may propose applying chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the duct work and to other system components. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments (sealants or other encapsulants) to encapsulate or cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. These practices have yet to be fully researched and you should be fully informed before deciding to permit the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if at all, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.

Note: Use of sealants to encapsulate the inside surfaces of ducts is a different practice than sealing duct air leaks. Sealing duct air leaks can help save energy on heating and cooling bills.

Forced Aire HVAC offers duct cleaning.

Call our office for your quote.

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Importance of Furnace Maintenance

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Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 Color Touchscreen Thermostat

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Before you call a technician

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The Importance of Duct Cleaning

Duct cleaning is one of those tasks that it’s easy to forget about. Since ducts and vents are often overlooked, many homeowners might not even remember the last time they had them attended to. The fact is, however, that duct and vent cleaning may have health advantages, and might even reduce your energy bills and […]

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