Winter is the perfect time for sledding, hot chocolates, and–that’s right–winterizing your heating system. Before you turn your furnace on for the first time, there are some steps you should take to prepare it for the cold weather. A well-prepared furnace is more reliable and energy-efficient than furnaces that don’t get any care. The technicians at Shines Energy have been winterizing furnaces across Dartmouth for almost a decade. In that time, we’ve refined our winterization process down to a science, and many of them are things you can do at home!
Here is our list of nine easy tips for getting your heating system ready for winter.
1. Change Your Furnace Filters
Do you normally change your air filters at the start of winter? It’s recommended that you change the furnace air filter before you turn the furnace on for the first time in winter. When an air filter gets dirty, it strains the furnace, causing the system to work harder. Not only does this decrease the system’s energy efficiency, but it can also cause parts to wear out quicker, leading to more frequent repairs.
A dirty furnace filter also decreases your home’s air quality. Clogged filters aren’t as effective at catching particles like dust, dirt, and dander as they travel through your ductwork. Instead, those particles continue to circulate throughout the air, leading to symptoms like a stuffy nose, sore throat, and itchy eyes. Allergy and asthma sufferers may notice worsening symptoms.
2. Change Thermostat Batteries
When the batteries in your thermostat get low on power, the device can’t communicate properly with the furnace. This leads to issues like your furnace running nonstop, short-cycling, or not running at all. Luckily, it’s easy to restore consistent furnace performance by freshening up the batteries. We recommend changing the batteries at the beginning of winter to give your thermostat all the power it needs to make it through the season.
3. Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Scheduling a tune-up at the start of winter will ensure your furnace is performing at its best through the long, cold months that follow. A tune-up is comprehensive and includes cleaning, inspection, and minor adjustments. Following the tune-up, you should notice more consistent and efficient heating. This is not only reflected in the comfort of your home but also the cost of your utility bills; you’ll save some money!
The furnace technician will also keep an eye out for potential problems so you can have them repaired before they become a full-blown furnace disaster. In fact, furnace maintenance is one of the best ways to avoid your furnace breaking down during a cold snap.
4. Program Your Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is an excellent way to prevent your furnace from working harder than it needs to. Not only does this type of thermostat allow you to select a temperature, but they also have a scheduling feature. Setting a schedule means you can keep your house warm and cozy while you’re home but slightly cooler while you’re away. After all, it’s expensive to heat an empty home! Even lowering the temperature by a few degrees while your house is empty can seriously cut down on your winter heating bills.
5. Consider a Smart Thermostat
You can take your furnace’s performance a step further with a smart thermostat. These cutting-edge heating accessories are able to detect your home’s ideal temperature and automatically regulate the furnace throughout the day. Unlike traditional thermostats, smart thermostats also measure humidity levels, which play an important role in the overall comfort of your home. A smart thermostat is able to streamline your heating system’s job so that it’s never working too hard or wasting energy on heating an empty home.
6. Open Floor Vents
Your furnace pumps warm air into a room via a vent located on the floor. These vents are adjustable, so you can control how much heated air is passing into the room. If the vent is fully closed, you won’t feel much air at all, and that can cause the room to feel chilly despite the furnace running. Opening the floor vents will ensure your home is fully benefiting from warmth generated by the furnace and could save you from turning your heater up a few degrees.
7. Inspect Ductwork for Drafts
When your furnace produces warm air, that air is transferred throughout your home via a system of ducts. Over time, your home’s ductwork can develop air leaks. These leaks cause your furnace to work harder, which can seriously strain it during the coldest weather of the year. That’s why it’s important to inspect your ductwork each autumn for air leaks. While some homeowners are comfortable doing DIY ductwork inspections, this type of work can be tricky and isn’t for everyone. If this is the case, you can count on a technician from Shines Energy to check your ducts for leaks.
8. Clean Out Ductwork
Air leaks aren’t the only problem that can plague ductwork. Ducts can also become clogged with dust, dirt, and debris. When enough debris builds up, it can harm your furnace by causing it to work harder. We recommend having your ducts cleaned before winter so your heating system can start the season on the right foot.
9. Locate Drafts in Your Home
Most homes have problem areas that allow air from the outdoors to enter. While this isn’t usually a problem during mild weather, it can be extremely problematic during the winter months. Not only do drafts make your home feel chilly and uncomfortable, but they’re also a major source of home heat loss, and they can negatively impact your heating system.
You can prepare your furnace for the winter by patching up drafty windows and doors. If you’re looking for a permanent–albeit pricey–solution, you can have your old doors and windows replaced. However, you can also seriously cut down on drafts with temporary and budget-friendly solutions like weatherstripping and window insulation. You can also invest in heavy curtains to reduce the amount of cold air entering through your windows.
Trusted Heating Service in Dartmouth
The experts at Shines Energy can help you prepare your heating system for the cold winter weather. Since we opened our doors in 2013, we’ve helped countless homeowners across Dartmouth with their heating and cooling needs. Our team is committed to providing top-quality services backed by a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. In fact, we have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and have won several awards, including the Lennox Centurion Award.
Shines Energy is a full-service heating and cooling company. We offer installation, replacement, repairs, and maintenance for furnaces and air conditioners. We also work with non-traditional systems like heat pumps and ductless mini splits. In addition to heating and air services, we also provide solutions for indoor air quality and water heaters. Call us today to schedule heating or cooling service!