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How to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter in Portland?

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Your furnace is getting ready to heat things while temperatures start dropping outdoors. However, your heating system might not be in tip-top shape after laying dormant in the past warmer months.

Furnace maintenance is crucial to the entire HVAC system operations. Poorly maintained heating systems may greatly impact your comfort and a few other things.

Dust and debris may already compromise your air conditioning system and indoor air quality before switching on your dirty furnace for the heating season. Ensuring all your HVAC systems are well-maintained will prevent untimely breakdowns, especially during harsher points of the winter season.

Read on for more furnace maintenance tips to prepare your heating system for winter.

Boost Your Heating System in Time for Winter Season

Laying dormant for a long period may result in dust and debris buildup and a dampened pilot light, which keeps your furnace from functioning correctly. These maintenance tips to prepare your heating system for the heating season won't only keep your furnace system reliable all winter long but will also help lengthen its lifespan.

Winter: Furnace Maintenance Tips

You might wonder when it's best to schedule annual tune-ups; the answer goes for any HVAC system.

Furnace Maintenance Tips #1: Regular maintenance should be scheduled once a year before you use it most. A heating system is used most in colder months, especially winter, making autumn the best time to schedule a furnace yearly maintenance program.

However, an older system requires more upkeep than a new furnace. You should schedule another maintenance check on top of its pre-season tune-up after each heating season.

Here are some of the most common procedures for maintaining your furnace.

Clean Your Furnace filter

Air filters saturated in particles restrict airflow, hindering functions. Check your manufacturer's specifications for cleaning or replacing air filters. Otherwise, familiarize yourself with maintaining an air filter with DIY remedies. A furnace filter may be inside with an accessible filter on the outside.

While dormant, your furnace's filter may have gathered dust, debris, or residual fuel from a gas furnace. If it functions properly, it may lead to more energy consumption due to overcompensation.

Don't worry. It's easy to clean a moderately dirty filter.

  1. Clean out accessible filters using a hose with high-pressure water flow. Don't use a power hose; opt for one with higher-than-average water pressure.
  2. Wipe off any debris with a damp gentle cloth.
  3. Let it dry before putting it back.

The air filter within your furnace doesn't ensure you have clean, breathing air. It prevents particles and other impurities from contaminating the rest of your furnace. You might scratch the filters or the other components by being too aggressive, leading to more costly repairs. However, stubborn grime, grease, and other residues should be left to professionals.

Have a Pre-season Inspection

Besides your air conditioning and furnace filter, there are more components in need of proper inspection. While users can inspect air filters, only a furnace professional can determine whether a heat exchanger or blower motor needs replacement parts or tune-ups.

Furnace Maintenance Tips #2: Don't make repairs or conduct DIY tune-ups on your home furnace based on conclusions from haphazard observations. Entrust an HVAC professional to conduct a thorough inspection.

Trust their professional assessment and advice regarding what your heating system needs. You may avoid future repairs by not causing any damage yourself. Your indoor air quality will thank you for it later.

Check on Air Ducts

An air filter isn't the only thing that can have lingering contaminants. Air conditioners blowing air through the same ducts will absorb impurities, affecting their internal air conditioning components. Without thorough routine maintenance, one contamination may domino into worse problems with all your HVAC equipment. Your ductwork may harbor particle pollution, even small decomposing rodents contaminating your airflow.

Your air ducts linked to gas furnaces afflicted with a gas leak may distribute harmful contaminants that are dangerous to your health. Carbon monoxide poisoning happens due to the inhalation of contaminated airflow. However, it doesn't smell like anything and may take too long to pinpoint.

Preventive Maintenance is Key

A routine furnace repair and maintenance check will prevent components from releasing toxic gases and distributing them around your home. Routine furnace maintenance won't only make it more energy efficient but will prevent potentially fatal occurrences from striking your home.

Routine maintenance will also lengthen the lifespan of your heating system and its internal components. The same goes for air conditioning or another HVAC system. There are components within that are dangerous for users to handle without proper tools and techniques.

A heat exchanger and blower motor may cause an overheated furnace and lead to costly repairs. Handling it yourself may cause further damage as well as injuries. While a slight burning smell from a natural gas furnace is typical after laying dormant for some time, an unusual odor that lingers is cause for concern. Additionally, electrical power may play a part in the odor. While an inspection will tell you problems when they already exist, annual maintenance may prevent them from ever occurring.

If you are still iffy about scheduling furnace maintenance, don't forget about its effects on your indoor air quality.

What is the Importance of Indoor Air Quality?

Your furnace maintenance doesn't only guarantee your heating system blows hot air, but it ensures your furnace blows hot yet clean air. Unlike air filters of air conditioning systems, a furnace filter doesn't directly clean your indoor air. Furnace filters protect your furnace from contamination that hinders its functions and impacts your HVAC system.

Keeping your furnace filters clean prevents natural gas furnaces from gathering residual fuel, which may attract mold and mildew. While an older furnace may be too hot to harbor mold colonies, a newer furnace is just humid enough for mold spores to thrive.

The difference between an old and new furnace is typically its build. An older one might have large furnace doors to access, while a new one is more compact with more automated systems. An old furnace isn't the best for indoor air quality as it impacts indoor air each time you open its doors.

An innovative new furnace still has combustion and ignition components in its heat exchanger but is often better contained. Still, even the safest installations may pose risks without annual maintenance.

Health & Safety Risk

Furnace maintenance encompasses all types. An electric furnace can be just as hazardous as gas or oil furnaces without annual maintenance. Even heat pumps and water heater units pose unique risks.

Let's talk about one of the most hazardous risks any furnace may pose.

Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Carbon monoxide leaks (CO leaks) are primary concerns in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) evaluations. Some homeowners can't detect the leak immediately or before it seeps into their air conditioning. Your heating vents may saturate your indoors with CO before you know it. However, a CO detector is typically installed within twenty feet of potential sources, such as a furnace or water heater. If your home doesn't have one, you should consult an HVAC professional for one.

Furnace Efficiency

You can use a vacuum cleaner on your furnace to suck up dirt or blow dust off your furnace. A dirty furnace leads to an inefficient one. A saturated filter may not warrant furnace repair but may lead to one eventually.

Any residue mucking up your furnace lay within, and it's dangerous to infiltrate internal components further than the blower door with a vacuum hose.

Hindered heating

You will feel inadequate heat if your furnace is suffocated by dust, debris, and other residues. Frayed wire connections and flame sensor clogs will result in little to no heating, and you should remedy these hindrances during warmer months before temperatures drop.

Furnace Maintenance Tips #3: If your furnace is well-maintained and breaks down in the middle of winter, you may reach out to your contractor regarding manufacturer warranties. According to most manufacturer specifications, they will only service or replace units that undergo routine furnace maintenance. However, don't count on cashing one in for a replacement if you don't properly maintain your unit.

Winter is the worst time for insufficient heating, and your furnace may continue to cost you electrical charges without getting your money's worth.

Utility bill

Your utility bill will keep charging you for fuel or energy consumption regardless of the heat you get from your furnace. Your air conditioning system may also keep running, cleaning your air without heat from the furnace, consistently costing you erratic expenses.

Call an HVAC professional to check on your air conditioner and furnace units.

Air Conditioning & Furnace Maintenance

Don't worry if you aren't getting the heat your home needs in winter and the manufacturer warranties your furnace comes with don't cover furnace maintenance or repair. There can count on a reliable HVAC contractor to turn the heat back on at home.

However, please remember to avoid opting for cheap and unreliable services. It's best you only entrust prominent agencies with furnace repair and tune-ups.

Sunset Heating and Cooling | Electrical

Our team will help turn the heat up and ensure it lasts all winter long. If you are tired of your older systems, we have only the latest equipment and the know-how it takes to conduct an efficient furnace replacement.

We also offer expert furnace repair at affordable costs. Our team will ensure all tune-ups and integrations are suited to manufacturer specifications to avoid hindering your furnace unit's potential.

Call (503) 500-5866

Please don't wait until winter to call our team for maintenance services. Our pros can get to work NOW.

What Our Clients Say

Sunset went out of their way to help with my project and David was amazing. Great job and look forward to future projects.

-Todd T.

Roman did an awesome job. I had the trifecta, new AC unit ,furnace and hot water heater. Courteous, and competent service. I highly recommend Sunset Heating & Cooling.

-Charles E.

Eduardo provided excellent service when he repaired our AC. I felt his effort was over and above expected. Polite and professional at all times. Good job!

-William G.

Caring, professional and helpful. Thanks for making things happen quickly and getting my Dear friend's heating back up and running in such a quick manner. You went above and beyond for a family in need and that is very much appreciated. Thanks from the whole group!

-Kristina K.

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