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Minnesota may be known for a number of things (that charming accent chief among them) but mild winters is not one of them. With temperatures that can dip well below zero (not counting windchill), the only way to tolerate such extreme cold is to prepare for it. Your home’s HVAC system is going to be working extra hard as its furnace struggles to churn out enough heat to keep you and your family warm, so it’s only fair that you give it a bit of a checkup before the storms start to hit. Here are three furnace maintenance tips you can perform in the fall to ensure your heating system is ready to go in the winter.
- Check the filter: Though your use may be different, most filters should be changed every three months or so. If you depend quite heavily on your furnace throughout the winter, you might want to consider checking the filter every month to guarantee its cleanliness. Filthy filters are less efficient which can cause already sky-high energy bills to shoot for the stars, and can potentially be a fire hazard. Take some of the strain off of your furnace — and prevent the need for furnace repair — by keeping an eye on your heater this coming season.
- Clean the area: Shockingly, furnaces can cause fires! By ensuring that the area surrounding them is clear of any debris or items that can catch fire, you’ll be protecting your home in a way that requires little effort. Don’t be lazy; move those Halloween decorations somewhere else.
- Perform the final touches: Depending on the heating system, you’ll have a few last minute things to check on. For example, gas furnaces run on gas and will need to be topped off before winter begins — it may be more expensive the longer you wait. If your house utilizes hot water radiators, their valves must be bled before use: simply open them slightly and close them again when water begins to drip.
Furnaces typically have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years; if you’re unsure how old yours is, you may want to consider hiring a general contractor to come out and take a look. No matter what, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!