We just officially entered the winter season a few weeks ago, so there’s no doubt that you’ve had your furnace on for a while now. We tend to not think about our HVAC systems until something goes wrong, but Western Pennsylvanians know a working, efficient furnace is critical for getting through the winter, safe, warm, and comfortably. We have lots of weeks of winter remaining (and let’s face it: even the spring can be pretty chilly around the ‘burgh. Don’t get stuck with a furnace that’s struggling to heat your home when the bitterest days of winter show up this month or next.

Steps to Ensure a Warm, Cozy Winter at Home

There are a few things that homeowners can to do ensure your furnace runs efficiently all winter long. Not only with you avoid waking up and seeing your breath because your furnace dies overnight, you’ll save money in repairs and extend the life of your furnace. The best place to start is by finding your local Lennox® dealer. This trained professional can ensure your furnace is running at its best and help you explore current promotions from Lennox.

As “they say,” the best time to think about how your furnace will handle the winter is in the fall – before you need to use it. The second-best time is now. Here are our tope four recommendations for fully functioning furnace!

Change Your Filters Regularly

It’s important to know which kind of filters you have for your furnace. Annual filters are designed to be replaced only once a year. Most of us, however, have disposable filters clearing dust and impurities from the air in our homes. If yours are disposable, you may want to change them as often as every month, but you should absolutely change them every three months for higher efficiency and better air quality. Changing the filters more frequently also benefits anyone in your home who has allergies because fresh filters mean cleaner air. Finally, if you find that your home is often dusty or dry, plan to change your filters more frequently than every three months to preserve furnace performance and air quality.

Ensure Your Intake Pipe Is Clear

Innovations in heating (and air conditioning, too!) have resulted in condensing furnaces which are more energy efficient, than what homes typically had a generation ago. These modern furnaces generate more heat with less fuel – which is good for your utility bills and the environment! However, these new furnaces require an external intake pipe for their air supply. It’s critical to ensure your pipe is free of clogs or blockages. When anything is interfering with the movement of the air through the pipe, it not only impacts your furnace’s efficiency, but it can also lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide! If you have a high-efficiency furnace, go outside and check the intake and exhaust pipes on the exterior of your home. You’ll want to ensure they are free of ice, snow, bird nests or insects, or other debris. If you aren’t sure if you have a high-efficiency furnace, if you’re not sure where your intake pipe is, or if you can’t get to your pipe to check its status, give us a call and we can help!

Use a Programmable Thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, your family gets to control your energy bills by syncing your system’s heating and cooling output to your family’s preferences and schedules. During the day when family members are at work and school,* the system doesn’t need to run as often – because there’s no need for perfect air when your family isn’t there to appreciate what it does for your health, comfort, and enjoyment.

A programmable or smart thermostat can be automatically set to dial down the heat at the time everyone leaves the house, and then crank it back up a bit later in the day. When you get home, you’ll be met with a cozy house. These thermostats can also be set up to turn the heat down a bit overnight when everyone is snuggled up in their beds. Dropping the temperature of your house by a few degrees at night leads to a better night’s sleep, so you’ll reap health benefits with a programmable thermostat, too!

If you do not have a programmable or smart thermostat, and you’re interested in the convenience offered by a “set it and forget it” solution to managing your indoor environment, give us a call.  We can help you select the thermostat that will work best with your system and for your family.

Keep Up with Preventive Maintenance

We highly recommend you schedule annual maintenance visits with one of our certified HVAC technicians to keep your system in tip-top shape. However, there are some preventive maintenance tasks you can do on your own. If you’re the DIY type, make sure you put safety first! Before you start poking around your furnace, shut off the power to the unit and wait for the blower to stop. Once the unit is quiet, perform a soundcheck.  Turn the system back on and listen for any unusual banging or rattling sounds. Look for rust build-up on the vent pipe and for signs of moisture on windows, as these may be symptoms of improper operation.

Will You Stay Warm Until Spring Arrives?

Soft slippers and fuzzy blankets can help keep us comfy, and it can be fun and relaxing to cozy up with your family. But those items alone aren’t going to offer you the pure comfort of having the perfect indoor environment. Your family deserves to be surrounded by perfect, clean, healthy, warm air this winter. If your furnace isn’t creating the ideal environment for your family, we can help!

If you are interested in scheduling preventative maintenance with a certified technician, are interested in upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat, or need help with any other concerns, give us a call or shoot us a message. We’ll help you find the best solutions and create the perfect environment for your family!

*Yes, we know no one is going out and about right now because of the COVID pandemic – at least not for whole days at a time. But those days will be back sooner or later. (And we’re all hoping sooner!)

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