Setting Your Furnace Up For The Fall and Winter

What you need to do to begin setting up your furnace before the cold sets in.

With the craziness of getting the kids ready for starting school, this might be the last thing you want to think about.  This summer’s weather has been fantastic and some of us hope that winter might not be coming this year. However, here in Northern Alberta, we know that it is best to be prepared for the oncoming winter season.

When things settle down and before you need to turn on your furnace you can print off this list and run through it:

1. Turn on the thermostat.

Switch from cooling setting to heating and set the temperature a couple of degrees higher than the current room temperature.

For older thermostats~ If you don’t hear the furnace turn on within a minute, pull off the cover of the thermostat and make sure the wire connections are secure (if you feel comfortable doing so). If the connections are snug, make sure the power source to the HVAC system is turned on. If it’s still not working, you could check the main breaker. but it likely makes better sense to call in a professional.

2. Switch out batteries to your thermostat.

This is a great time to replace the batteries in your thermostat (if yours uses batteries).  Frequently, that is the trouble, when a furnace is not working.  When the thermostat batteries are low you might not have enough power to communicate instructions to the furnace, yet the display is still bright.  Great way to save yourself frozen pipes or a service call fee by just changing the batteries every fall.

3. Change the air filters for the furnace.

Change air filters every few months. Or, if you have an electrostatic filter type, you can follow the manufacturers recommended cleaning procedure. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly keeps particles out of your HVAC system and can prolong the furnace’s life and help with airflow.

4. Change your humidifier filter.

Change the humidifier pad and set the humidistat. This should be done yearly.  If you have a really dirty humidifier, the air ventilation system of your home could become polluted with mold spores and bacteria.

If you are having troubles maintaining your humidifier it is better to have a professional service the unit or possibly replace with a healthier, “flow-through” style humidifier. We can help you decide what is the best option for you and your home.

 5. Cover the AC condenser (if you have one).

Cover the condenser to protect it from falling icicles and falling leaves. A factory-made cover is the best form of protection, but there are other alternatives.

Clean off the condenser of debris prior to putting the cover on.  If you don’t do this in the fall, over the winter the leaves, dust and pollen could build up over the winter and potentially, cause an issue come next cooling season.

6. Lubricate and clean the blower motor (if your furnace requires this type of maintenance).

First, check the owner’s manual to see if your motor is the kind that needs lubricating. If it does, turn off the power, open the cover and clean the caps covering the bearings. Then remove the caps and lubricate the bearings. This is also a good time to check the condition of the belt (if applicable) and replace.

7. Test the ignition system.

On an older system, you might have to relight the pilot. Newer systems have electronic ignitors. If the ignitor isn’t working, check and confirm the power to the furnace is turned on. Still not working? It might be time to call a technician to troubleshoot.

8. Inspect the exhaust chimney and carbon monoxide detectors.

Exhaust chimneys for your furnace and hot water tank should be inspected for carbon buildup or even small animals. A professional should inspect them periodically. You should routinely test or replace carbon monoxide detectors as well, as they help protect you from the “silent killer.” Change batteries on these yearly. Some units have expiry dates, please inspect


Annual maintenance by an authorized HVAC technician is required by many manufacturers to ensure their warranties are kept intact. You can look at your warranty for details. 


Read More: Save Money and Energy – Change Your Furnace Filter 



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