5 Steps to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

Replacing a furnace filter can prevent damage

Updated October 13th, 2023

There’s nothing worse than cranking up the thermostat on a cold day and realizing your heater isn’t working! As the Idaho winter creeps closer, it’s important to make sure that your home’s heating system is ready to work through the cold weather! A poorly maintained furnace can be a serious fire hazard… so it’s well worth taking the time to make sure it’s running properly.

Prepare and plan in advance to ensure you’re ready for the coming cold weather. Prepping your furnace for the winter will make sure it’s fully functional, running efficiently, and safely.

Now, if you have a fireplace in addition to or instead of a furnace? We’ve got you covered! Check out our post on Fireplace Safety Tips to learn more about how to get your fireplace ready for winter.

Step 1: Check and Replace Your Furnace Air Filters

This is a simple task, but it’s also the most important! Make sure your filter is clean to prevent potential fire hazards. An overloaded air filter can pose a serious risk. Besides that, running your heater with a dirty furnace lowers the efficiency of your system, leading to higher heating bills. Save your HVAC system from undue strain by checking your filter. If it needs to be replaced, you should easily find the part number listed on the side of the filter. Then, simply order and install a replacement. It only takes a few minutes and will give you peace of mind that your furnace is running safely and efficiently.

Step 2: Test Your Thermostat

This step is also easy! You’ll need a kitchen thermometer (medical thermometers often won’t read lower than the 90-degree range). Locate your home’s thermostat and set the temperature. Tape the thermometer to the wall or place it near the thermostat. After 15-20 minutes, check the temperature on the thermometer. If it matches or almost matches the temperature on your thermostat, then your thermostat is accurate! However, if the temperature is off by several degrees, your thermostat may need to be calibrated. It could also be a sign that your system needs to be serviced. Anything from damaged ductwork to dirty filters can have a negative impact on your system. Learn more about what to do if your thermostat is inaccurate.

Step 3: Uncover Hidden Issues 

Some furnace problems are not immediately obvious but can be simple to fix. Look for a pilot light that may have gone out, and relight it if needed. Check the circuit breaker, as your heating system may not be the issue; it could be an electrical problem. Sometimes, a circuit may have been turned off, especially if you’ve recently had home repairs. If the issue persists, consider consulting an electrician.

Step 4: Keep the Area Around Your Furnace Clear

Your furnace or heating unit needs quite a large amount of clearance on all sides in order to function properly. If you’ve got storage totes, blankets, cardboard boxes, or any other debris cluttering the area, move it! Your HVAC system needs to have sufficient space around it to function properly. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 2 feet of empty space around your furnace. Removing clutter will improve air circulation. In turn, this will help your system run smoothly. 

In addition to the above-listed reasons, keeping things close to the unit can pose a fire risk. Ensure that there is adequate clearance around your furnace to lower the risk of a house fire. Check out our article on How to Prevent House Fires This Winter for additional winter heating safety tips!

Step 5: Schedule a Furnace Inspection

The simplest way to make sure your furnace is ready for winter is to have an inspection performed. An HVAC technician can troubleshoot and solve existing problems. They can also identify potential future issues, such as worn-out parts, and replace them before they even become a problem. Investing in preventative maintenance is always a good idea! This goes double when it’s for something as vital as your home’s heating system. 

Get in Touch With Your Local Restoration Company!

When it comes to unexpected disasters like fires or floods, Elite Restoration has your back. Offering 24/7 emergency restoration services in Twin Falls, Boise, Meridian, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Bellevue and Burley we’re here to help you with all your restoration needs and get your home back into shape.  Give us a call any time at  208-734-2135 or contact us online.