We all like surprises, but a furnace breakdown on a cold day is not the kind of surprise we want. However, performing a few furnace housekeeping and maintenance tasks before it gets chilly could prevent an unwelcome situation. Here are three tips to get your heating season off to a good start.

1. Change Filters

For your furnace and heating system to work at an optimum level, you need to regularly change the system’s filters. If you have a gas-fired or electric furnace, you will have an air filter in the blower compartment or around the air handler. A dirty filter will inhibit the flow of air, causing the furnace to work harder and consume more energy. A lack of proper airflow can also cause your furnace to overheat and shutdown.

Replace your old filter. Check it again a month later. Hold the filter up to the light. If you cannot see through it, replace it again. To keep your system working efficiently throughout the winter, check your filter on a monthly basis.

If you have an oil-fired furnace, you will have an inline filter in the oil supply line. Turn off the oil supply, unscrew the filter or open the filter container, and replace the filter. You should do this every year to keep the oil flowing freely to your furnace.

2. Run a System Startup Test

Adjust your thermostat to a couple of degrees above room temperature. Listen for your furnace to start. If it is working properly, it will continue to run until the set temperature is reached. Verify the temperature stated on the thermostat against an inside thermometer.

While the temperature is rising, watch the screen on the thermostat. Observe if anything seems out of the ordinary. If your thermostat uses batteries, this would be a good time to put in a fresh set.

3. Schedule a Maintenance Tune-up With a Qualified Professional

Schedule a certified and experienced furnace technician to take a look at your furnace. A trained professional will check the guts of your system. Not only will they make sure all components are clean and working properly, but they will also look for cracks and deterioration. Early detection will save costly future repairs and days of downtime during cold weather.

The NATE-certified technicians at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Downers Grove, IL, stand ready to assist you in your annual maintenance program. Our trusted experts can perform any furnace/air conditioning repairs needed and are available for emergencies 24/7. Call on us to help you with any of your heating needs this winter.

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