Nationwide Home Solutions

7 Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

7 Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter


cold weather ahead signage on snowy road

Preparing your home for the coming winter is a serious matter, and this preparation should start with the one thing that will be powering your home during the colder months: do a furnace checkup.

1. Switch on your thermostat

If you’re noticing that your heating system seems to be not working, there are a few things you can check before calling in a professional to fix it.

First, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is turned on. If it’s still not working, you could do a furnace fan, blower or heat pump — but it likely makes better sense to call in a professional.

If you don’t hear the heat kick on within a minute of switching over from cooling mode and setting the temperature 2 degrees higher than your current room temperature, pull off the cover and make sure all wire connections are secure (if you feel comfortable doing so). If they seem snug, make sure there are no other problems with your heating system.

2. Replacing air filters

Your HVAC system is designed to keep you comfortable, but it also needs to be maintained. You probably have air filters behind a vent grill in the wall or ceiling, or a single filter in the HVAC system itself. Change these filters every few months. Or, if you have a permanent electrostatic filter, you can wash and reuse it. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong its life. While you’re at it, change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat, if your HVAC includes a humidifier.


home heater below a window

3. Cover the AC condenser

Your HVAC unit should be covered to protect it from falling icicles, but not with a plastic tarp.

Your HVAC unit is most likely an air conditioner or heat pump, in which case you should NOT cover it at all because it runs all year long. However, if your HVAC is a furnace, you can cover it with a board to protect it from falling icicles. Be sure not to wrap the board with a moisture-trapping plastic tarp!


photo inside a home furnace

4. Clean the heat exchanger

If you’re not sure how to clean your heat exchanger, we recommend hiring a professional. It’s a simple procedure that can be done while the unit is offline, but it’s critical that you only work with an expert who is trained in this kind of work.

The heat exchanger should be brushed and vacuumed out annually by a trained professional while the unit is disabled. While it’s being cleaned by a hvac technician will look for cracks, which could lead to a dangerous carbon monoxide leak into your home.

5. Lubricate and clean the blower motor

If you own a central air conditioner, it’s important to lubricate and clean the blower motor. This will help keep your unit running smoothly for years to come.

First check the owner’s manual to see if your motor is the kind that needs lubricating. If it does, turn off the power, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. Then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings.

6. Test the igniter switch

If your pilot light won’t stay lit, there are several ways to troubleshoot it. First, consider whether it’s the pilot or the igniter that’s not working. This is important because they have different fixes.
If you have an older system and the pilot keeps going out, try relighting it with a match. If that doesn’t work, try pushing the reset button on your thermostat. If it still won’t stay lit, check your breaker and make sure it hasn’t tripped. Still not working? Call in a professional!

If you have an electronic ignitor (newer systems), push the reset button on your thermostat to see if that helps get things going again. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your breaker and make sure it hasn’t tripped. Still not working? Call in a professional!


woman checking a furnace
7. Check the chimney and carbon monoxide detectors

Chimneys, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety equipment are vital for your home. Routinely inspect them to ensure they’re working correctly and that you’re protected from the dangers of carbon buildup and animal infestation.


Thank you for reading these 7 Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us. The winter months present a range of challenges for your furnace, so be sure to take action now. Best of luck!

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