A Guide For Giving Your Furnace A Well-Needed Summer Break


Throughout the winter, your furnace has been a reliable and dependable source of warmth and comfort. But with warmer temperatures on the way, it's time to think about how to best prepare your furnace for a season of dormancy.

The following offers a few good pointers for giving your furnace a well-deserved rest, especially after a season of hard work.

Going Offline

Depending on your area's climate, there's a good chance that you won't need the reliable and effective heat that your furnace offers. With that in mind, you may want to consider shutting down your furnace in order to save a few bucks on your overall energy consumption. Completely shutting down your furnace could save you as much as $60 per year in energy costs, depending on fuel costs and the type of furnace you own.

  • Turn off the electricity – First, make sure the thermostat isn't set on "heat" and then shut off the furnace's main power. Most furnaces feature a simple switch (usually an improvised light switch) you can use to accomplish this task. If not, go to the circuit breaker panel and identify the breaker connected to the furnace's main power.
  • Turn off the gas – To shut off the pilot light, locate the red pilot control knob and turn it to the "off" position. On some furnaces, you'll have to push the button inward as you turn it. Keep in mind that some systems have hot surface igniters in place of pilot lights. Next, find the gas control switch and turn it towards the "off" position to prevent leaks while your system lies dormant.

If you have an oil-fired furnace, then you'll want to set the pilot to burn on its lowest setting instead of turning it all the way off. Some oil-fired furnaces tend to be more susceptible to condensation and corrosion when the pilot light is shut off, plus you run the risk of voiding your oil furnace's warranty.

Now is the Time for Maintenance

With your furnace finally out of commission for the time being, now is as good a time as any to catch up on maintenance. The first thing you'll want to do is clean or replace the furnace's air filter. Using a dirty air filter lowers your furnace's overall performance and creates excess wear and tear while raising fuel consumption.

You'll also want to remove all of the dust and debris that's accumulated in and around the air vents, as well as around the furnace itself. If you're particularly handy with a screwdriver and ratchet set, then you'll want to remove and clean the furnace blower. Pay close attention as you clean each of the blower's fan blades – you'll want to use a soft brush to avoid damaging the fragile blades.

There are plenty of other maintenance tasks you can perform on your own:

  • If your furnace is equipped with a belt-driven blower, inspect the belt for signs of wear and tear and replace as necessary.
  • If your ducts have adjustable dampers, make sure these are set to their summer setting.
  • Use compressed air to dust off the pilot or the hot surface igniter.
  • Lubricate your furnace's blower motor according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Taking Care of Your Ductwork

You should also consider having your furnace technician clean your ductwork of any dust and debris that's managed to get past the air filter during the winter. This also gives your technician a chance to thoroughly inspect the ducts for any signs of wear and tear.

If your air conditioner is also connected to your furnace's ductwork, then your A/C system will also enjoy the benefits of having a cleaner duct system.

With the above tips and additional info, you should be able to give your furnace the rest it deserves until it's needed once more.


4 March 2015

Keeping up With Maintenance Between HVAC Inspections

Working with HVAC contractors is an important part of being a homeowner. Not only do your contractors ensure that a new system you buy is properly installed, but they also ensure optimal performance throughout the years through a series of regular inspections, maintenance services, and repairs. But there are lots of things you can do in between your contractor's visits to ensure that your HVAC investment is always in tip top condition, aside from cleaning out the air filters. After working with my dad for more than a decade in the HVAC business, I've put together a few methods homeowners can use to maintain a well working system, and I have published those tips and tricks right here on this blog. I hope some of the information you find here helps you on your journey as a homeowner!