You may not have committed to the flannel sheets yet. Virginia's fall can be fickle! And according the Farmers' Almanac, we may as well get used to it. Predictions for the 2019-2020 winter has already been anticipated to be a "Polar Coaster ". Rain, sleet, snow, rain; we're talking bouts of unseasonably warm days followed by frigid dives into colder than normal temperatures and all the precipitation in-between. Sounds like a wintery ride! With all this uncertainty, one thing is for sure: cold weather is coming. And whenever you do feel chilled this winter, you'll want your home's furnace to be happily humming.
A Virginia home’s main heating system has a big job and a long road ahead.
You wouldn’t leave for your Thanksgiving travel without checking your car engine’s oil or the air pressure in the tires, right? Right! So it’s definitely a good time to get your furnace ready for its winter journey. Here are the 4 simple ways to prepare:
1. Have an annual inspection by an HVAC professional
HVAC systems are complex and require a trained pro to get them running right. They’ll check things like coils, pressure and airflow, burners and your heat exchanger. Dealing with a system failure is not pleasant when it’s freezing outside, not to mention it could damage other home systems. Let’s do it right!
Do you have oil-based heat? Here’s a solid information source for maintenance.
2. Change or clean your filters
Don’t wait until you hear that terrible sound of heat ducts popping when the heat turns on and off. It's best to replace air filters monthly. If you’re not sure if you’ve gotten your money’s worth from your existing filters, here’s a better measure. Buy new filters and compare them to the old ones in front of a bright light. If you can’t see light filtering through the old filters, replace them.
3. Clean your duct vent inlets
This is a job tackled simply with your vacuum’s brush attachment tool. That annual inspection professional can also inspect the inner duct work for cleanliness, insulation, and tight connections as well as having them professionally cleaned.
4. Reverse your ceiling fans (video)
Give your furnace a little help this winter by recirculating the naturally rising warm air trapped at your ceiling. Once your heat is running consistently, switch your ceiling fan’s spin direction to clockwise and send that warm air back down. This only works at a low setting, otherwise you’ll create an uncomfortable wind chill effect. Watch:
There you go! Don’t worry if you rely on a fireplace, wood stove or other heat source in your home- we’ll cover those next. We need to chat about the extra care needed with those alternative heating helpers to protect against the #1 winter threat to your home: FIRE. We want to be sure things stay comfortable and safe for your family all winter long.