Furnace Repairs You Don't Want to Miss Before Winter

by Adriana J. Noton - Date: 2010-11-19 - Word Count: 617 Share This!

So, you had your fun all summer, letting those home repairs wait. Now winter is just around the corner and you're thinking maybe you should have gotten a few things done while the sun was shining. Well, don't beat yourself up - just fix the important things for now. Furnace repairs should be at the top of your list. In fact, you might want to consider having a professional come out to inspect and clean your furnace before you fire it up for the cold weather. This could prevent any potential problems with carbon monoxide poisoning - which kills over 1,500 people every year in the U. S., according to Journal of the American Medical Association.

If cold nights creep up on you before you think about your furnace you may find yourself without heat on a frosty night. There is still time to act - if you are handy and don't want to call a professional, there are several things you should check before starting up that furnace the first time this season. First, check the thermostat. Many people don't think to change the batteries and set a winter program. Also, set the differential - this is the difference between the temperature you set and the temperature the furnace will actually turn on/off.

Change your air filter - it's likely your air filter has been overworked through a hot summer. Your furnace can be damaged if it has to work extra hard to pull air through a clogged air filter. Also, it will use more fuel or electricity than normal to heat your house to the desired temperature if the air flow is restricted. This will cost you money.

If you have Carbon Monoxide Detectors - check them. Change the batteries and test to make sure they are working properly. A tiny crack or other flaw in the heating system can leak carbon monoxide ("CO") into your home. Because CO is odorless and colorless, your family will have no idea it is being poisoned until it is too late.

Finally, test your furnace: (1) Switch the furnace "on"; (2) turn the thermostats to "heat" and the fan setting to "auto" to that it will run with your pre-set program; (3) turn the temperature up a few degrees and let the furnace run for a couple of hours. If there is a slight burning smell it is very likely the dust burning off the furnace from the summer before. If you smell gas, call the gas company and heating repairman immediately.

Of course, some of us have Boilers, or hot-water heating systems. Many don't realize these need routine maintenance as well. Clink Clink, Clunk - boiler systems are noisy and seem inconvenient, but they sure are money savers when it comes to heating our homes in the dead of winter. The truth is, if you have your boiler system professionally maintained it will be quieter, and can be upgraded as you go along.

Radiators or convectors need to be bled (drained) completely of all coolants in the fall or late summer. At the same time it is a good idea to lubricate the circulatory pump. The pressure gauges need to be inspected periodically. These are located on the front or side of the boiler. Water pressures vary with temperature, thus unless you know something about water pressures, this should be done by a professional.

No matter how you look at it, routine maintenance of your furnace or hot water heating system is not really optional - it is required for your safety and your comfort. Now is a good time to pick up that phone and call someone to come over and check out that furnace - or go take a look at it yourself if you're good at that sort of thing.

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