How do I Get My Furnace Ready for Winter?

If Starbucks is about to bring back their Pumpkin Spice Latte, then you know cooler weather is in the forecast! Before cranking on the heat full force, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your system is operational, safe, and ready to keep you and your family warm this winter season! 

To keep your furnace in tip-top shape for as long as possible, it is crucial to have it serviced each fall, in advance of the peak-usage months of winter. Mercury Energy has been helping customers in the Waterbury, Connecticut area with heating oil delivery and heating and cooling systems servicing and preventive maintenance since 1947. With annual maintenance, you can extend your furnace’s life expectancy and keep your electrical bills to a minimum. Some of the items you can even do yourself! 

With annual maintenance on your heating furnace, you can reap the following benefits:

Your furnace will work better when the components are clean and the internal parts are freshly tuned. A service technician can test the furnace to see if it leaks carbon monoxide or displays other problem symptoms. In addition, if something is wrong with your furnace, your chances of fixing the issue before major damage occurs is higher with an annual inspection.  

So what are the things you can do yourself before you have it inspected?

Turn on the thermostat

Turn the heat on, and set it to just a few degrees warmer than the current room temperature. You should hear it kick on and start running. If not, check the breaker to the furnace to make sure it didn’t get turned off during the summer when it was not in use. If it’s STILL not working, you probably want to call for service! 

Change the air filters

Some smaller homes only have one air filter, some have several. Check behind all the grates and replace the filters with new ones. The best quality you can afford. There really IS a difference! Changing these out every couple of months (or more frequently if your home has pets or is dust prone) keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong its life. 

Test the igniter switch

On old systems, the pilot light may need to be re-lit. Newer systems have electronic ignitors. If the ignitor isn’t working, push the reset button. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your breaker. Still not working? Call one of our highly trained and licensed technicians at Mercury Energy. 

Inspect the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors

Chimneys can house carbon buildup or even small animals. They also collect build up from fires. While you can do a quick visual inspection, you need to have a chimney sweep examine your fireplace and chimney annually. 

Seal any air leaks

Sealing air leaks, as well as adding some insulation, can save you up to 10% on your energy bills, according to ENERGY STAR. Inspect for disintegrated weather stripping around doors, gaps around plumbing lines, and chimneys.

Make sure air vents are open and unobstructed

Blocked air vents make your furnace work harder, increasing the risk of a malfunction or even fire. Remove furniture, plants, toys, equipment or any other objects that obstruct air flow.

Clean your windows

Cleaning your windows (especially south facing windows) lets the sun in and the warmth that comes with it.