With spring in full swing and summer not that far away, you'll gradually spend less time using your furnace. Eventually, you won't have any need for your furnace until next fall. Shutting your furnace down for the season is a sensible step, but this is a process that involves more than flipping a switch or two.
While it's important to prepare your furnace for winter weather, preparation for a season of non-use is just as important. Knowing how to properly preserve your furnace throughout the spring and summer months can help maintain its performance, efficiency, and longevity. The following offers a few tips you can use to get your furnace ready for summer dormancy.
1. Shut Off the Pilot Light
Most modern furnaces use electronic ignition to activate the burners. However, many furnaces still use traditional pilot lights for that purpose. Leaving a pilot light to burn all summer long can have a surprisingly big impact on your fuel bill. A lit pilot light also adds unnecessary heat that your air conditioner has to fight against during the summer.
Follow the instructions listed in your furnace operator's manual or on the pilot light controls to turn the pilot light off. You'll need to follow the instructions again to relight the pilot light when the time comes.
2. Clean Your Furnace Thoroughly
A dirty furnace can cause a variety of problems. Even when your furnace is turned off, dust and debris can still build up inside of the unit. Accumulated dust and debris not only impacts furnace air flow, but it can also make your home more difficult to heat when you need to use your furnace again.
Layers of dust on components regularly exposed to heat can create a burning smell that takes hours to dissipate. In other places, dust and debris can easily transform your furnace into a potential fire hazard.
Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean up as many accessible areas of your furnace as possible. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the exterior of the furnace. Along the way, keep an eye out for any signs of damage or excessive wear.
3. Replace the Furnace Air Filter
Even when your furnace is dormant for the season, your air filter still traps dust, debris, and other airborne particles. Your air filter will slowly accumulate more dust and debris until it's finally clogged up. Leaving a packed air filter inside of your furnace can lead to dirtier indoor air and possible mold growth inside the furnace.
A pre-dormancy air filter replacement prevents the problems that a clogged air filter could cause. A new air filter also ensures that nothing hinders your furnace's optimal performance the next time you use it.
4. Shut Off the Gas Supply
With your furnace off, you don’t need to continue feeding natural gas to it. You can shut off the gas supply as an additional safety precaution. Shutting off the gas supply can help prevent leakage and long-term buildup of natural gases inside of your furnace.
To shut off the gas supply, simply look for the large valve on the gas line. Most appliance gas shut-off valves are located close to the pilot light or electronic igniter. Turn the shut-off valve until the valve arm is perpendicular to the gas pipe.
5. Schedule an Inspection
Before you put away your furnace for the summer, have a seasoned professional weigh in on your furnace's current state. A professional check-up can help reveal long-term problems that could have an effect on your furnace's performance and longevity. Your HVAC technician can also take care of tasks that may be too dangerous or too complicated to safely handle on your own.
Learn more summertime preparation tips for your furnace at Peterson Heating and Cooling Inc. Contact us today to receive a free estimate on repairs and installation.