The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting cooler here in the Twin Cities, which means it's time to start thinking about getting your furnace ready for winter.

Unsure how to prepare your furnace to perform optimally during the cold months? Then, this handy winter furnace maintenance checklist is for you!

Getting Started With DIY Maintenance Solutions

Before winter creeps in, there are a few DIY furnace maintenance steps that you can take on yourself, and some of the basics include:

Replace Your HVAC Filter

If you're not diligent about changing your furnace filter every 30 to 90 days, make sure you change it before you start using your furnace daily. A clean filter helps improve HVAC efficiency and helps keep particulate matter out of your duct system that can adversely affect your health.

Inspect Ducts & Seal Leaks

Are your air ducts getting old? Or were last year's heating bills unusually high, and you couldn't figure out why? If so, you'll want to inspect your duct system for cracks, holes, and air leaks before winter.

If you find any signs of damage or deterioration, seal up those areas to help ensure heated air won't escape your HVAC system as it travels through the ductwork. Ensuring your air ducts are well-sealed can also help improve indoor air quality since leaky ducts can allow a lot of unnecessary dust and debris to enter your HVAC system.

Open Vents & Clear Obstructions

If you didn't use your air conditioner much throughout the summer, some vents around your home might not be fully open or completely closed. If you leave them that way, you'll have uneven heat distribution throughout your house. You'll also force your furnace to work much harder than necessary to heat your home, so take a minute to open all the vents.

If you have any furniture or other objects near your vents, move those things out of the way to improve airflow throughout your house. Ideally, you should have six to 10 inches of clearance around your vents for optimal airflow. Keeping that area clean will also help reduce your risk of furnace-related fires. 

Schedule Air Duct Cleaning

When was the last time you had your duct system cleaned? If it's been years (or you've never had it professionally serviced), autumn is the perfect time to schedule an air duct cleaning.

Cleaning your ducts before winter will improve your furnace efficiency throughout the season and help eliminate weird odors in your HVAC system. Professional duct cleaning can also help improve your indoor air quality in a big way.

Since you'll probably spend more time indoors than usual when it's freezing outside, it's in your best interest to make sure you're breathing clean air while you stay cozy and warm indoors.

Test Your Thermostat

Set your thermostat to "heat" and turn up the temperature setting five to 10 degrees higher than where you currently have it. You should hear your furnace kick on almost immediately. If you don't, you may have a faulty thermostat or damaged wiring, which you'll want to have repaired before winter weather arrives.

Check the Flame Sensor

If you have a gas-powered furnace, your flame sensor is a critical safety component of your system because it tells the system when the gas valve is open and there's a flame. When it's not functioning properly, you might experience inconsistent thermostat regulation, yellow burner flames, high utility bills, and even rusted flu lines.

While you won't need a professional to find the flame sensor, if you're experiencing any of these issues, we recommend contacting a licensed and certified technician to ensure your unit is ready for winter.

Inspect the Gas Line

Additionally, if you have a gas-powered furnace, you should inspect the gas line each year. Start by inspecting the shut-off valve; if you smell propane or hear a hissing sound, you have a leak. If you do find either of these scenarios, this is a serious situation, so shut off the valve and call an expert immediately.

Schedule Annual Furnace Cleaning & Maintenance

Last but certainly not least, you'll want to schedule a furnace cleaning and service appointment before the cold weather starts to set in. Having a pro inspect, clean, and maintain your unit every year will help keep your unit performing efficiently and can even help you prolong the life of your furnace.

A furnace maintenance specialist can also identify any minor issues your unit may have so you can take care of any necessary furnace repairs before those issues get out of hand. Annual cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep your HVAC system in excellent condition and minimize your risk of furnace breakdown in winter.

How Can Furnace Maintenance Benefit You?

Your furnace is a major investment, and whether it's you choosing to do it yourself or working with a pro, the last thing you want to do is pay out thousands of dollars for a replacement. Regular maintenance will give the system the care it needs and comes with multiple advantages, including:

Greater Energy-Efficiency

When your system doesn't have to work as hard, this means less energy and fuel used, which goes directly back into your bank account.

Consistency in Comfort Levels

Aside from the system running optimally, it also needs to heat evenly. You don't want to deal with cold spots, and when your system is properly maintained, the probability of this is eliminated because there's better temperature detection and airflow.

Keeps Your System Durable

The last thing you want to deal with is your furnace breaking down, especially in the winter. Regular inspections and cleaning of the parts remove the risk and can stop the most common problems.

Maintain Any Warranties

Most warranties will have a 20 to 30-year lifespan on your furnace, and while they'll usually cover some of the equipment and system, in most cases, they need to be maintained by a licensed contractor and not neglected.

Get a Free Furnace Cleaning Quote in the Twin Cities

Ready to get your HVAC system ready for winter? Let our team at Dust Doctors in Little Canada, MN, help you! We specialize in comprehensive furnace cleaning, maintenance, and repairs and have proudly served the Twin Cities area for over a decade.

To learn more about our services, schedule an appointment, or get a free furnace cleaning quote, call us at 651-319-9777 or request a quote online, and we will get in touch.

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