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Posted 11/24/2017

Fire up your furnace and enjoy the cozy winters

Fire up your furnace and enjoy the cozy winters

Winters in the United States are extreme in most regions except for a few coastal regions such as Hawaii and Florida. Alaska is the coldest region where temperatures can drop as low as -80◦F (-33◦C). Most Americans choose to spend their winters indoors, rarely going out for grocery runs. In such extreme climatic conditions it is essential to have a working furnace heater in your home.

Preparations for the winters should be made in advance. Check your heating equipment and appliances before winter comes heavy. Waiting for the last minute can reduce your odds of getting an HVAC professional to visit your home on time. Do not make the mistake that other people make, instead learn from their experiences. Then there is the matter of cost. Rate hikes are very common when HVAC service professionals are overbooked. Plus it us a grueling task to fix people’s furnaces and boilers in the bloody cold weather. Save money by getting an appointment in advance rather than later.

Firing up that furnace after 6 months

Just like all other things, your furnace also collects dust after months of inactivity. The dust accumulates inside the filters, air ducts and vents. As you turn on the furnace for the first time, there is a blow out of dust from the fan. As the furnace heats up, these dust particles turn to toast and burn. This gives off a pungent smell that might be the cause of discomfort for many people. In order to prevent the smell from settling in your home and furniture, you need to make the necessary adjustments to your ventilation system.

Open the windows and doors before you switch on your furnace for the first time. Good air circulation will get rid of the odor in a matter of minutes. However if it lingers on, due a year’s worth of dust collection should have burned away, it might be time to call your local HVAC technician for a professional tune up and inspection.

Precautions

There are a few other precautions you should take if you before the start of the heating season:

Change the filters

This is such a basic thing that people forget to do. Sometimes they are just too lazy to do it and eventually procrastination turns into forgetting it altogether. Clogged filters lead to polluted air. It also causes the heating and cooling system to put in extra power to provide the desired temperatures. Sometime old filters can no longer be cleaned but have to be replaced. Start the winters by first cleaning your dirty filters before you move on to the other steps.

Clear the furnace area

An unused furnace is often completely ignored during the summers. You may end up piling stuff next to the furnace if it is in the basement or garage. Any flammable items near to the furnace are potential fire hazards that need to be removed before using the furnace. It is generally better to have a clean area around the furnace to avoid dust and debris accumulation as well.

Testing your thermostat

Thermostats are the simplest tools that provide a reading of the current room temperature. But sometimes they give off inaccurate readings. Even if the thermostat was giving accurate reading during the summers when the AC was on, it is always better to double check the equipment in heating mode. The best way to do this is to take a digital thermometer to each room to check even distribution of heat in the entire house.

Check and replace the weather stripping

Weather stripping is a clean and convenient way to keep out the cold air. Weather stripping can be applied to every window and door that opens towards the outside. Overtime weather stripping does eventually wear off or cracks in places. This needs to be replaced in order for it to work effectively as desired. Broken weather stripping can be identified as chilly drafts make their way inside the room. It also puts a toll on your heating system to counter these drafts.

Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned

Do you have a house with a fireplace and a chimney? Traditional fireplaces are still a common feature in many American homes. These are lighted in the winters as the family sits around the fire. You might have one in your home as well. Before starting off the season, have the fireplace cleaned and vacuumed. On the other hand, modern homes have electronic heaters and fireplaces that do not require the same amount of maintenance. Electronic heaters, although energy efficient, fail to provide the same amount of heat and that charring smell that a lot of people love as the wood burns away.

Winter storms

Blizzards and storms can be a common sight in the US. It causes more than just traffic jams and people being snowed in for days. Strong winds can also knock down trees that fall on to the power lines and cause immediate blackouts. Cut down tall trees that might potentially fall and risk blackouts. The wood from trees can be used as firewood in your fireplace.

Install carbon monoxide detectors

Heating furnaces release carbon monoxide in the process of heating up your home. Carbon monoxide is harmful for the health of the residents but is not a threat as long as it is contained. However if there is a leak in the vents or heat exchanger, this gas can enter the inside of your home. That is why it is important to have carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms installed in your home. Monitor the levels of carbon monoxide to know that it is safe to be there. Modern alarm systems alert the user if levels are too high and the building needs to be evacuated. There should be at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor and needs to be checked, if it’s functioning properly, on a monthly basis.

Follow these steps to prepare for the winter and go through less hassle of doing everything at the last minute

 

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