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Getting Your Furnace Ready for Winter

A Guide to Prepare Your Furnace Before Winter

In Calgary reliable heating is critical during the winter months. Rather than waiting for something to happen before giving your furnace a second thought, you should ensure your furnace is ready for cold weather before it arrives.

Maintaining your furnace will reduce costly repairs, lower your heating bill and keep the heat running in your home when it’s cold outside. Taking care of your furnace in early autumn will allow you to make any needed repairs while it’s still warm.

Self Administered Maintenance

Visual Inspection

  1. Visually inspect the furnace, pipes, vents and electrical to confirm nothing is out of place or out of the ordinary. Also check around the gas line connecting to the furnace to verify there isn’t a gas leak which you would detect if you smell a rotten egg odour or smell.
  2. Furnaces have an obvious drainage pipe or tube which allows condensation to drain from the unit. Look to make sure there isn’t any sign of blockage and that the water can drain freely. This is especially important if you have an air conditioner which shares the condensate drain.
  3. Shut the power off for the furnace and check the wiring to make sure nothing looks frayed or discoloured. You can gently pull the wires to confirm they are properly attached and securely in place.

Cleaning

  1. Your furnace sitting over the summer without the call for heat will accumulate dust and debris which can negatively affect the unit. After shutting off the power, open the furnace access doors and using a soft brush gently (careful not to damage any components) dust off any debris that has collected in and around all areas inside the furnace. You can also remove dust and dirt with a vacuum, being very careful not to damage any parts of the furnace.
  2. Cleaning your Furnace Flame Sensor should ONLY be undertaken if you are familiar with your gas furnace parts.
  1. Shut the power off
  2. Open the furnace access panel(s), locate and remove the flame sensor
  3. Hold the flame sensor at the bottom of the part and clean the flame sensor by blowing off any dust. Finally, using an emery cloth clean the sensor before putting it back into place.

Furnace Filter

Most furnaces should have the filter changed regularly. Although there isn’t one answer of how often to change the filter for all furnaces, the rule of thumb is: very four months to a year for MERV filters and every one to two months for older fibreglass filters.

Your furnace filter helps improve your home’s indoor air quality, and minimizes dust and dirt buildup on the fan motor as well as the heating and cooling coil.

A dirty filter will reduce the energy efficiency of the furnace, increase furnace breakdowns and failure as well as reduce the lifespan of the unit.

Annual Furnace Maintenance

The best solution to ensure your furnace operates efficiently is to schedule annual furnace maintenance with HVAC professionals in late summer or early fall. A comprehensive inspection and service will provide all the diagnostic checks needed giving you peace of mind your furnace is operating safely, efficiently and provide your home the heat needed during the coldest days.

Scheduling annual furnace maintenance will greatly increase the lifespan of your furnace and will reduce the number of times you may need to call for repairs. In fact if you neglect furnace maintenance and your furnace breaks down your warranty may become null and void.

Annual Furnace Maintenance Benefits

  • Efficiency – Maintaining your furnace will help keep it running at maximum efficiency. Because Calgary winters can sometimes be long and cold your furnace has to work hard to keep up, you can help reduce your energy costs with regular service.
  • Prevention for Repairs – Regular inspection and servicing can greatly reduce the risk of potentially expensive breakdowns or replacement in the future.
  • Safety – Because furnaces use natural gas and produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct you’ll decrease the risk of any leaks of dangerous gasses with professional HVAC maintenance.
  • Warranty – Many manufacturers require regular inspection and servicing to keep the warranty valid. Make sure you look over your owners manual and maintain the warranty for your furnace.
  • Extend the Lifecycle of the Furnace – Regular servicing will help extend the life of the unit to maximize the investment of your heating system.

Stat Climate Control Furnace Maintenance

We provide complete servicing and maintenance for furnaces including:

  • Test the furnace heat cycle
  • Inspect electrical connections
  • Test system controls
  • Check flue pipe and gas connections
  • Clean flame sensor
  • Inspect and clean the burner
  • Check safety features
  • Assess the heat exchanger Lubricating parts
  • Inspect the condensate drain
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper airflow
  • …And more

Cutaway of furnace showing areas inspected during maintenance.
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