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Preparing Your Furnace and Home For the Winter Cold

October 5, 2017  —  Written by Chris 

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This post is sponsored by Ruud Heating, Cooling & Water Heating. We’ve partnered with them to share our process of making our home more comfortable and energy efficient. With the upcoming winter, if you’re looking at new HVAC equipment, we encourage you to find a Ruud-approved contractor and request that this outstanding equipment be installed in your home.

When we moved into our home, we had an old workhorse of a furnace that, while top-of-the-line for its time, had seen better days and was on its way out. That was made especially clear when the whole thing went kaput in early Spring of 2016. We were lucky that the weather had started to warm because if your furnace goes out mid-winter, usually the need is desperate and the options expensive.

Though our new Ruud Furnace is humming beautifully, we always want to keep it that way. Here are the things we’ve done to prepare our HVAC systems for winter, and they’re a good idea for anyone looking to improve the efficiency of their home, and keep it cozy all winter.

1. Have Your HVAC Units Tested & Serviced by a Licensed HVAC Professional
This applies to both your furnace and AC units (if applicable). For an AC Unit, the technician will test its pressure for any leaks before settling it in for winter. It’s a good idea to have a fitted cover to place over your unit to keep it free from critters and debris.

Things to Keep in Mind When Replacing an Old Gas Furnace

When servicing the furnace, technicians will clean the essential parts of the unit and examine the fans and heating coils for cracks. This was the problem when we had our Carbon Monoxide leak – the coil had cracked and eventually led to other problems. Along those lines – MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A FUNCTIONING CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR!

2. Replace the Air Filters
For many areas, Fall is a high-allergy season. It’s always a good idea to start the season with a new air filter, and stock up on them for the winter (we try to have 3 extras on hand). Many modern thermostats come equipped with reminders for changing out filters, and I find that the trip to the store is much less appealing when there’s a few feet of snow outside.

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3. Clean Your Vents & Registers
Over time, dirt, dust & debris make their way into your vents and registers. Take the registers off, give them a good cleaning, and vacuum out the inside of your vents as far as you can reach. Cleaning the vents out cuts down on airborne allergens and keeps air flowing freely. I found a small stuffed puppy in one of ours who apparently was hiding from the dog catcher (according to my 3 year old), so keep your eyes peeled for things like that as well.

4. Check Weather Stripping And Caulk Around Doors & Windows
This is less about the furnace functioning properly and more about the home not undoing all of the furnace’s hard work. An $11 piece of weather stripping applied to a gap in a door or window can end up saving you a lot of money over the course of a winter. Inspect the caulk on the exterior sides of your windows as well, removing any pieces that are flaking off and applying fresh caulk.

5. Upgrade Your Tech to Allow for Setback Control

The Energy Efficient Home - Water Heaters & Connectivity
Our Ruud furnace is equipped with a system called EcoNet, which allows us to control the temperature of our home remotely. EcoNet can stand on its own, or it integrates with the Nest Thermostat, which works for nearly every furnace out there. This new Technology allows your HVAC systems to operate more efficiently, saving money on both utility usage and repair costs, as it reduces the consistency of demand on your furnace.

By combining your own efforts with the knowledge and experience of a licensed HVAC professional (check for competent technicians in your area here) you can set your home and family up for a comfortable winter. And the best part is that it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or cost a lot of money.

What are some other things you do to prepare your home for cold weather? Share them in the comments, and if your home is ready for a new furnace, ask your HVAC Professional about Ruud’s line of EcoNet Wi-Fi Enabled units. Our home has never felt so cozy.

What do you think?

  1. Jen says:

    Geez, I read about poor Charley on Instagram. I don’t have an acct so I hope it’s ok to post here. It’s heartbreaking. My daughter and I always say, even though we know it’s not true, that our Cookie will live forever. I feel for you all and hope that all of your great memories carry you through this tough time.

  2. MelissaB says:

    There are even a couple of air filter subscription services that mail one out to you in your chosen increments so you don’t even have to remember when it’s due or go to the store!

    Do you suggest an annual, or bi-annual service on the furnace/ac units? Soon to be new home owner and I’m not really sure what is overkill on maintenance.

    • Mandy says:

      MelissaB, Not to bud in (I always enjoy reading every post they write : ) ) I’m very familiar with this area ;) Request a qualified service tech. Once service technician is at your home they should go over your settings & maintenance needs. Here’s a general example 1)—FURNACE, clean&check ….right when you are about to start using it….. 2)—FURNACE HUMIDIFIER, clean&check …right before using (not all homes have one, used to moisten cold winter air) 3) —Air CONDITIONER , clean&check …right before you start using it. 4) —HRV or ERV (not all homes have this) this will need to be checked with either your furnace or a.c. appointment. …………… FURNACE FILTERS.. need to be changed on your furnace throughout the year, if not, your furnace can’t properly pull air in/out needed to heat or cool your home which causes parts to overheat or fail. …….HUMIDIFIER FILTERS..need to be changed during winter use. CHECK HUMIDIFIER HOSE also for any clogs/build up. Hope this helps a little Melissa. I didn’t go into boilers or heat pumps which some homes use to heat/cool, I just hit the more popular equipment.

  3. Eric says:

    Such great tips – changing your filter ever quarter is a MUST! Especially if you have pets. I’d like to add that having a CO2 detector is a great way to keep your family safe if your heater starts to go on the fritz.

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