As the evenings grow darker and longer, the air gets more chilly and the leaves on the trees start to turn orange and you know that winter is on the way. It's the same drill: before you know it, it's Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. During that time the promise is made every year that before the cold sets in, someone will service or test the furnace before it's desperately needed. And every year it finally gets turned on with fingers crossed that it still works properly. Here's a handy list to help test your furnace to see if it is working correctly before the heat is needed and you won't be left in the cold waiting for a furnace repair.
1. Before switching it on, you should make sure that the surrounding area is clear so that it has good ventilation.
2. Check that your safety equipment is working. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms need to be operational at all times of year, but the carbon monoxide alarms become even more important when winter sets in and the heating is on all the time.
3. Check that your thermostat is working. Many run on batteries these days, so it may be worth replacing with fresh batteries.
4. Check that your furnace pilot light is on.
5. Check and clean the air filters on your furnace. If these are full of dust, they are a huge fire hazard.
6. Check the fuel supply. Whether it's gas, oil, water, or electric, if there's nothing to power the furnace, it's not going to work!
7. Turn your furnace/heating on and turn your thermostat to about 5 degrees warmer than the current air temperature in your home. Leave it running for about 15 to 20 minutes. If during that time the furnaces switches off, go check your thermostat to see what the current temperature is. Whether it has switched off because it has reached temperature or not, you may want to consider calling in some help as 15 minutes of running time should not be sufficient time to heat a house by 5 degrees.
8. At the end of the 15 minutes, check the ducts around the furnace. They should be warm, but not too hot for your hand to be near after this amount of time. Safety is incredibly important. If you're unsure of what you're doing, call in a furnace repair specialist such as Custom Heating & Air Conditioning LLC to help fix your heating problem.