As spring draws near, there's a good chance you won't need to use your furnace as much as before, if you need to use it at all. Now is a good time to consider giving your furnace a well-deserved rest. Shutting down your furnace for the spring and summer not only helps save energy and lower utility costs, but it also reduces wear and tear on your heating system. The following offers a few helpful tips on shutting down your furnace.
Give Your Furnace a Spring Cleaning, Inside and Out
It's not unusual for dust, dirt, and grime to accumulate around the furnace throughout the winter. This debris can easily be sucked into the furnace's combustion chamber during operation, resulting in poor heating performance. It can also pose a significant fire hazard.
Before shutting down your furnace, take the time to sweep or vacuum any dust or debris you find around the base of the unit. Use a damp cloth to wipe the outside of the furnace, removing any dust that has accumulated on the unit's exterior. Don't forget to remove any and all flammable materials, including stray bits of paper and cloth, from the area near the furnace.
If Your Furnace Uses a Pilot Light, Shut It Off
It's amazing how something as small as your pilot light can have such a big impact on your utility bills. Leaving the pilot light on in your furnace could cost you plenty of money throughout the spring and summer months. One homeowner discovered that leaving his pilot light on wound up costing him an extra $10 a month in natural gas costs.
Instead of wasting extra money on maintaining your pilot light throughout the summer, you're better off turning it off and leaving it off until you need your furnace again during the fall. Most furnaces have a control knob near or within the furnace cabinet that can be used to shut off and eventually restart the pilot light. Follow the instructions given by your furnace manufacturer to turn off the pilot light.
Make Sure the Main Power is Turned Off
Shutting down your furnace takes more than simply changing your thermostat settings. You'll also have to cut main power to the furnace to make sure it remains off throughout the spring and summer. Most modern furnaces are equipped with an external switch located close to the furnace. Simply flipping this switch to the off position will cut power to the furnace.
On other furnaces, you may need to cut power at the electrical service panel. Locate the circuit breaker assigned for your furnace and flip the breaker to the off position in order to cut main power to the furnace. Don't forget to cut off the furnace's gas supply by locating the shut-off valve at the gas line.
Schedule an Inspection
Another helpful thing you can do prior to shutting down your furnace is to have it inspected by an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC technician. There are plenty of things your technician can do to ensure your furnace remains in great shape even as it lays dormant. For starters, your HVAC technician will make sure you've followed all of the proper steps for shutting down your furnace.
Your HVAC technician can also perform an in-depth check of your furnace, including areas where you may not have the tools and training to properly inspect on your own. If there's a part of your furnace that'll eventually need replacement, your HVAC technician can do just that as a part of preventive maintenance.
Don't Forget to Change Your Air Filter
In all of the excitement to prepare your furnace for its upcoming dormancy, it's easy to forget about changing the furnace air filter. Even when your furnace is turned off, leaving a dirty air filter in place can have a negative impact on your home's indoor air quality. If your furnace and air conditioner share the same blower fan, a dirty air filter can drag down your air conditioner's overall performance. Before you shut down your furnace, make sure you replace your old furnace air filter with a fresh and clean filter.
For more information and advice, contact a company like Advanced Heating & Cooling.