As cold weather moves out of the area, residents of Boston will turn their attention to spring (and summer soon after that). Warmer weather means many things in regards to the upkeep and maintenance of your home, both inside and out. For example, once the last cold spell is in the past, it’s time to shut down your furnace for the spring season. It sounds easy enough to do this, right? After all, it’s only one button or switch.
Even though you can quickly shut down your furnace, you’ll regret the decision to rush once the cold weather rolls around once again. Not to mention the fact that you could make a mistake that puts your system at risk of damage.
So, when it comes time to shut down your furnace for spring, here’s what you need to do:
1. Know what type of system you have
The type of system you have will help you determine what to do first. For example, if you have a natural gas furnace with an electronic ignition – which is most common today – you don’t have to do much in regards to turning it off. Its design ensures that you won’t use any gas over the warmer months.
Conversely, if you have a furnace with a standing pilot light, it’s best to completely turn the gas off. If you don’t, the pilot light will burn even when it’s not in use, thus increasing your gas usage and costing you money.
2. Change your air filter
Many people forget to do this because they assume that their air filter only comes into play when their furnace is on. However, this doesn’t hold true. It’s also important to the overall performance of your air conditioner. As a general rule of thumb, change your air filter every 90 days.[i] You may need to do so sooner if you suspect that it’s clogged, such as the result of a recent home renovation project. If you do this while shutting down your furnace, don’t forget to remind yourself to tackle the task in another three months (right around the time when summer is in full swing).
3. Declutter the area around your furnace
During your annual spring cleaning, pay close attention to the area around your furnace.
Your furnace needs plenty of breathing room, so make sure there is a minimum of 30 inches of clear space between the unit and any objects (including walls).[ii] Of course, you shouldn’t check on this during the springtime only, as it’s a fire risk regardless of the month.
Final tip: if there’s anything wrong with your furnace – such as if it’s not blowing hot air – don’t wait until fall to assess the situation. It’s best to tackle the issue now, so it doesn’t catch you off guard the next time a cold spell hits the area. If you have questions about shutting down your furnace and/or starting your air conditioner for the first time, reach out to us for professional guidance and to schedule an appointment.