When the leaves start to turn, you know that winter is right around the corner. That can make the beauty of autumn seem bittersweet, and many people try to get in late-season barbecuing and swimming to hold on to the summer as long as possible.
But when it comes to your furnace and heating system, pretending that winter's still far away is a bad idea. Fall is the time to get your furnace ready for prime time, and you definitely don't want to discover your furnace isn't working when cold weather arrives.
Check Your Filter
Before you start your furnace up for the first time, you should check your furnace filter – it's very easy to forget when the last time you cleaned or changed it was. Slide out your filter and check whether it looks clogged with dust or whether it looks clean.
If it is clogged with dust, you'll need to clean or replace it. If the filter is washable (only some types are), then gently brush off as much dust and dirt as you can. Then wash the filter with mild detergent and water and let it dry completely before replacing it in the furnace.
Most filters today are not washable – if your filter has a cardboard frame, you know you have a disposable filter. You can order a new filter online or go to your local hardware store; bring along your old filter so that you're sure to get a new one that's the right size.
Turn On The Furnace
Once you're sure your filter is clean, you should fire up the furnace to make sure that it works. If you wait until the weather gets cold and your furnace won't start up, you'll have an uncomfortable time waiting for a contractor to come and fix it, so testing early is a good idea.
Some people notice a dusty smell from their furnace when they first start it up. This is almost always completely normal; if you're not sure, let the furnace run for a few days and see if the smell goes away. This is caused by the dust that has built up while the furnace wasn't in use; that dust burns away harmlessly when the furnace starts up at the beginning of the season. If the smell doesn't go away after a few days, however, there may be something else overheating inside your furnace, so you should call a contractor.
Check Your Last Inspection Date
If you usually get your annual inspection done in the fall or early winter, it will be time to set up another appointment. If you have your inspections done at the end of the furnace season, on the other hand, you'll know that you can wait – although putting a reminder on your calendar would be a good idea. Contact a professional service like Good Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning Inc. and schedule an appointment for a heater inspection.