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The Boonstra Blog

Preparing Your Furnace for Winter

Family enjoying the winter playing in the snow

How Do You Prepare You Furnace for Winter?

Furnace maintenance is the best way to prepare your furnace for the long winters in Hamilton and Burlington. Regular maintenance helps keep your furnace safe and improves efficiency. A maintenance check by a professional can spot any issues early, including potential gas or carbon monoxide leaks. 

You should schedule a maintenance appointment for your furnace once per year, ideally in the fall to prepare your furnace for winter. Fall is the best time because it not only gets your furnace ready for winter, but it can catch any furnace repairs that need to be made. 

It might seem like furnace problems come from wear and tear during the winter months, and while this is true, lack of use in the summer can also cause problems like corrosion. At Boonstra Heating and Air Conditioning, we recommend an annual maintenance check to catch any issues early, regardless of when they occur.

What Are the Benefits of Furnace Maintenance?

The main benefit of furnace maintenance is it allows a furnace professional to spot small repairs before they become big problems. A loose part or a worn component might seem trivial, but they have the potential to cause serious problems for your furnace. Furnace maintenance is a small investment that helps you avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Furnace maintenance can also help keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible by catching components that are no longer working their best. A more efficient furnace means less wear and tear and lower heating bills. 

Because furnace maintenance is completed by a furnace technician, it’s also a valuable opportunity to have a professional set of eyes on your unit. Problems that you might not notice will be obvious to an experienced furnace technician, which is especially important when it comes to the safety of your furnace. Most furnaces run on natural gas, which can be hazardous if not dealt with correctly.

What’s Included in a Furnace Maintenance Appointment?

A furnace maintenance appointment includes a thorough cleaning and a check to make sure everything is running smoothly. This includes:

  • A cleaning.
  • A filter change.
  • Checking for leaks (including gas and CO leaks).
  • Checking for loose parts.
  • Checking for worn parts.
  • Recommending repairs or replacements as needed.

Other Ways to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter

In addition to regular furnace maintenance, here are some other things you can do to prepare your furnace for winter.

Furnace technician changing a furnace filter.

Change Your Furnace Filter

You should change your furnace filter at least every 3 months. If you have pets that shed or allergies, you may want to consider replacing it more frequently, even as often as once per month. 

A filter change is included in your furnace maintenance appointment, but changing your furnace filter regularly is an important thing to do year-round for your furnace. It can be easy to forget about changing the filter in the summer when your furnace isn’t being used 

Even in the summer, you should be changing your furnace filter every 3 months. Air is still moving through your furnace, especially if you use air conditioning in the summer. Dust, pet, hair, and debris can still accumulate in the filter, which prevents air from moving through your furnace properly. A new filter every 3 months is one of the easiest ways to ensure your furnace is as efficient and long-lasting as possible.

Schedule Any Repairs Right Away

It’s always better to get repairs addressed sooner rather than later. If your furnace isn’t keeping your home warm, it’s best to have it looked at as soon as possible to prevent a total breakdown. 

Strange noises or smells are also sure signs that it’s time for a furnace repair. Pops, squeaks, and rattling noises aren’t normal sounds for a furnace to make. 

A musty smell isn’t unusual when you first turn on your furnace for the winter, but it should go away within a day or two. If the smell doesn’t go away or you notice the smell of gas, you should contact your repair company right away.

Know What to Look for

There are some clear signs your furnace might not make it through the winter. Some warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Increasingly high heating bills
  • Constantly adjusting the thermostat
  • False starts/failing to start
  • Your furnace continually cycling on and off

If you think your furnace needs a bit of TLC, you’re probably right. A professional maintenance check can not only give you peace of mind but ensure your furnace is prepared for winter as well.

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