Fall is the season to think about furnace preventative maintenance. Don’t risk a major heating outage during the worst cold spell later this winter — that’s the time when a poorly maintained furnace is most likely to fail completely. Furnace preventative maintenance lowers operating costs due to improved energy efficiency, as well as delivering more effective heating performance. Because a gas-fired furnace involves a high-temperature open flame, flammable natural gas and dangerous exhaust byproducts like carbon monoxide, for safety reasons it’s best to leave most maintenance to a trained, qualified HVAC technician. Here’s what you can do and what to leave to the pros.

Change the Filter

Adequate system airflow is critical to all heating functions, and a clean air filter is what keeps airflow rates up to specifications. Start the heating season with a fresh filter and keep changing it every month as the winter goes on. It’s an easy DIY task; ask your HVAC contractor to show you how if you don’t know.

Clear the Area

Vacuum dust and dirt from around the furnace cabinet. Move any items that may have been placed there over the summer a safe distance away from the unit.

Schedule a Fall Maintenance Check-up

Here’s where the professionals take over. A regular annual maintenance evaluation should be scheduled with your HVAC contractor at the outset of the heating season, ideally at the time of seasonal furnace startup. This allows a qualified professional technician to conduct a standard list of furnace preventative maintenance procedures to ensure optimal performance and efficiency throughout the season. Most importantly, the annual procedure includes critical safety checks to test for proper combustion and the presence of dangerous carbon monoxide emissions, as well as inspect the venting system. It also gives the technician an opportunity to detect any issues that could develop into a major malfunction later in the winter when the system is under maximum load.

To schedule furnace preventative maintenance this fall, contact the heating professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing.