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Tips for Preventing Winter Heating System Failure

When winter snow and cold weather comes to Denver, you want to make sure your furnace is in top shape or you could be left in the cold. Even if your furnace is in good shape when you start the season, it could fail or have problems once you begin to use it heavily.

Below are some things you should do to ensure that your furnace or heating system runs smoothly throughout the winter as well as common troubleshooting for heating problems.

Perform Pre-Season Maintenance

The best way to prevent or reduce the chance of total furnace failure is to have a professional come out and do a thorough pre-season furnace and air duct check before winter starts. This professional can check your pilot light, if you have a gas furnace, along with your blower motors and switches. At the same time, they can clean any filters and air ducts.

Make Sure the Switches and Motor Work

Periodically turn on your furnace’s switches after periods of non-use to ensure that your blower motors work properly. Be on the lookout for weird sounds and smells and contact a professional if you smell something burning or hear rattling or clunking. Do not use your furnace if you suspect that something is wrong with the motor.

Check the Filters Regularly

Even if you just had your filters checked during pre-season maintenance, give them a check off and on throughout the winter season. Heavy use, as well as pet hair and dust flowing through the system, can quickly clog the filters. These clogged filters restrict airflow and cause uneven heating.

Clear Your Vents

Check your furnace registers to make sure that you don’t have furniture, rugs, and other items blocking them. If too many registers are blocked or closed in your home it could create pressure problems that could damage your heating system. Constant hot air blowing is also not good for your rugs and furniture.

Replace Your Batteries

Your thermostats, especially programmable ones, may run on batteries instead of being directly wired into the system. Normally, these thermostats will tell you when the battery is getting low, but not always. When the thermostats don’t work, your heater may not turn on at all.

Fortunately, this problem is easy to remedy with new batteries. However, if you aren’t sure if your thermostat is battery-operated, you may wish to contact a professional to take a look.

Learn Your Furnace Codes

Most modern thermostats have an indicator light that flashes a code whenever there is a problem. You count the number of flashes to find out the error code. Usually, this is a two-number code with one number flashing, then a pause, and the second number flashing. When you call for service, this code number, as well as your furnace’s brand name, is helpful information to give to the technician who can then diagnose and repair the unit quickly.

Consider the Age of Your Furnace

If you have an older furnace, then it is more likely to fail with heavy winter use. If your furnace is approaching the 20-year mark, consider replacing it before the next season. If that is not possible, then you may benefit from a mid-season checkup to ensure that it is safe and will continue to produce adequate heat during the season.

Furnace failure, especially during a cold winter storm, is a serious problem. If you see any signs of furnace trouble, contact a professional to check things out as soon as possible. At L & L Heating & Air Conditioning, we have skilled technicians who will check out your furnace to determine the cause of your furnace failure.

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