Winter marks the beginning of the holiday season, but also means more time spent indoors. Furnace maintenance is a key component of an enjoyable season in the home.
It’s also a healthy choice, as an unmaintained furnace could release carbon monoxide into your home, or stop working when you really need it.
In addition, proper maintenance means less repairs down the line, and a longer life for your furnace. Like many things, investing a little time and money now goes a long way. Use our checklist to make sure your furnace is properly maintained this winter:
Schedule a Yearly Check-Up
- Yearly checkups are usually less than $100 and improve furnace longevity
Turn it Off Before Maintenance
- Turn off the electrical and fuel supply before working on your furnace
- The electrical supply is usually a red switchplate near the stairs or the burner
- The fuel supply is usually near the oil tank or the incoming gas pipe
- Sweep or vacuum dust from around the furnace and registers so air can flow freely
- Vacuum the burners and around the base of the furnace
- Use a flashlight to spot any soot that’s collected, indicating poor combustion
- Remove the bolts securing the blower and gently lift it out
- Use a small brush and vacuum to clean the blower blades properly
- Remove the lower door and vacuum the blower compartment
- If you’re not able to clean it thoroughly, leave it to a professional
- Clean the belts and pulleys that lead to the blower
- Vacuum the heat vents in your home annually before winter begins
Replace Disposable Filters
- Disposable filters are very inexpensive while high-efficiency filters can limit airflow, put strain on the blower motor. We recommend using disposable filters
- Open the filter access and remove the filter
- Check the filter size and type and note this on or near the furnace in permanent marker
- Change the filter three months if you use a pleated or polyester filter
- If you use a fiberglass filter, change it monthly
- If you smoke inside or have pets, change it each month regardless of filter type
- Place the old filter in the trash, not the recycling
- Close the filter access, using the clasps to ensure it remains shut
- For a permanent filter, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, attached to the furnace itself
Combustion Air Opening
- Ensure the combustion air openings are not blocked or restricted
- Inspect the flue pipe for corrosion or leaks
- Check the drive belt leading to the blower for any cracks or frayed edges
- Use a straw to remove dust from the pilot
- Use an emery cloth to clean the flame sensor and reinsert into the proper bracket
- Check the vents for rust and leaky water
- Keep an eye out for loose panels as these can raise your heating bill or cause your furnace to shutdown
- Look to see that drain lines are clear and draining properly
Check the Thermostat
- Have a look at your electronic thermostat to see if the batteries need to be changed
- If you use the same vents for heating and air conditioning, there may be a setting to adjust the dampers based on season.
Maintaining and protecting your home is important. That’s why DGI offers home insurance so you and your family can rest easy this winter.
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.