Your heating system is obviously hugely important during the winter as it helps to keep your home warm and comfortable. It also works to ensure that your plumbing doesn’t freeze and your pipes won’t burst. Furnaces can experience a variety of different issues that can cause them to produce much less heat or prevent them from working entirely. As a result, it is essential that you take steps to make sure your furnace is ready for winter. Here is how to do just that.

1. Schedule an Annual Furnace Tune-Up

Illinois can be brutally cold, and the last thing you ever want to have to happen is for your furnace to suddenly give out in the middle of winter. Going without heat for even a few hours in the winter can be miserable. If your furnace has major issues, you could potentially be without heat for days. Not only will this make your home bitterly cold and uncomfortable, but your pipes could also easily freeze if you don’t have heat for more than a few hours.

The best way to make sure that your furnace is ready to go and free of any issues that could cause it to fail is to have it maintained every fall before you turn it on for the first time. A furnace tune-up includes a full inspection to make sure that there aren’t any issues that will need to be repaired. A technician will also clean the furnace and blower fan, which will both improve its efficiency and performance and help to prevent most common issues.

It is always best to schedule this annual maintenance appointment early in the fall before it gets cold enough that you need to turn on your heating system. If not, there is always a chance that your furnace could break down the first time you turn it on.

2. Check the Condition of Your Air Filter

When performing a heating tune-up, a technician will always replace your air filter. This is important as a dirty, clogged air filter will drastically reduce how much heat your furnace puts out. Dirty air filters are also the most common cause of overheating and other common furnace issues. If you find that you need to turn your furnace on before you’ve had it maintained, you will want to check the condition of the air filter and replace it if necessary. If the filter looks black or it has been more than two or three months since you last replaced it, you should change the filter out before turning your heat on.

3. Inspect the Exhaust Flue

The exhaust flue is what vents carbon monoxide and other combustion fumes outside of your home. The flue is connected to the top of the furnace and usually runs up and out through the roof or up along the side of the house. It is not uncommon for birds or other animals to nest inside the flue over the summer or for the flue to become clogged with leaves and debris. These issues can prevent the combustion fumes from flowing out through the flue and cause them to back up and leak out inside your home. For this reason, you should always have the flue inspected to make sure that it isn’t blocked and is venting properly.

4. Make Sure All Vents Are Open and Unobstructed

Before turning your furnace on, you will want to go around the house and check to make sure that all of your supply and return air vents are open and not blocked or obstructed by furniture. It is also a good idea to remove the vent covers and clean off any hair or debris from the grilles as this can also block the vents.

If the vents are blocked or not open, it leads to an increase in air resistance inside the ductwork. This means that less hot air will flow, and your furnace will need to run much longer and experience more wear and tear that could cause it to break down. Your blower fan will also have to work harder to circulate air throughout the home and could also experience the same issue.

At Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc., we specialize in furnace maintenance and repairs and can help you ensure that your heating system is ready for winter. We work on all makes and models of furnaces and specialize in furnace replacement and installation. We also offer air conditioning repair, installation and maintenance services, and we work on residential and commercial HVAC systems. To schedule a furnace tune-up or any HVAC service in the Downers Grove area, contact Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. today.

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