For most locations, fall means turning on the furnace for the first time. In the Decatur, Alabama area, that time is likely in November, when lows are typically in the forties. This is also the time many homeowners discover issues with their furnace.

Prevention is always better than a cure, which can end up being more expensive than maintenance, especially if a furnace fails in the middle of winter. This maintenance checklist should help you prepare for the cooler months ahead and should stop many mechanical issues in their tracks.

Step One: Change the Filters

Furnace filters are among the easiest things to change on a furnace. However, don’t dismiss their importance—they’re designed to trap particles and ease the burden on your HVAC system. A clean furnace means a more efficient furnace, which in turn means lower energy bills. A dirty filter, however, will make your furnace work harder and use more energy in the cooler months.

Some filters can also improve the air quality of your home when windows are typically closed, by trapping particles as your HVAC system runs. Look for filters with a higher MERV rating if your goal is to trap smaller particles and improve air quality.

Step Two: Seal Air Leaks

Windows and drafty doors can lead to your furnace working harder when the temperatures drop, which in turn can lead to higher energy bills. Sealing air leaks will help to retain heat in your home and to lower your costs.

Air leaks in window frames can be sealed via caulk, weatherstripping, and plastic sheets. Attics may also leak air and can often benefit from additional insulation. Checking any vents in the attic and ensuring they are not blocked will also help manage summer heating.

Step Three: Run the Furnace

Doing a quick test run may help identify any issues before an HVAC professional shows up at your door for a regular inspection. Issues with the thermostat may prevent the furnace from turning on, and fan issues may cause noise that needs to be addressed. Make note of any noises or failures and ensure that heat can travel through your vents efficiently.

Cleaning or vacuuming out any air ducts may be a good idea as you check your furnace.

Step Four: Schedule an Inspection and Tune-Up

This appointment often takes place in the fall when an HVAC professional inspects your system, makes any necessary repairs, and ensures everything is running properly.

The cost of these appointments is typically low, but they can go a long way towards preventing larger issues in the long run. Remember that your HVAC professional may have a lot of appointments during the cooler months, so it’s best to schedule this visit a bit ahead of time.

If you’ve tested your furnace already, you may already be aware of any potential issues with the furnace, fans, vents, or thermostat. This knowledge will save time and allow you to get any issues taken care of quickly.

Schedule an Inspection Today

Here at Southeastern Mechanical Services, we’re committed to ensuring that you and your family have a comfortable fall and winter. Don’t wait for an expensive and inconvenient breakdown to act. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or if you notice any issues with your HVAC system.