It’s heating season in the Greater Portland area. Here are three steps that will help Portland-area homeowners prepare for the cold and rain.
Heating season in Portland is a relative phrase. Plenty of people throughout the Willamette Valley have been running their furnaces for a couple of weeks by now, mostly in the morning. Those same people may have the windows open during the warm afternoons we’re still having.
In our experience, heating season usually starts right around Labor Day. That’s when the phones start ringing, and homeowners throughout Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties want to have their furnaces checked, or schedule their annual maintenance review. Both of these steps are great ways to prepare for heating season, and make sure that your system is ready to get you through the cold dark months that are coming.
What else can homeowners throughout the Portland area do to prepare for heating season? Follow these three furnace prep steps below, and make sure your furnace and heating system are ready.
1. Test your thermostat
For some homeowners, switching the thermostat from cooling to heating is almost like a ritual. The click from cooling to heating says that, yes indeed, winter is on its way. As you make the switch:
- Set the temperature to a few degrees higher than the room’s current temperature.
- If the heat doesn’t kick on within a minute, you’ll want to make sure that all wire connections are secure.
- If you’re not comfortable with the idea of dealing with any electrical issues, stop right here, and call a professional.
- If the connections look snug, check that the power source to your furnace is turned on. You may have turned it off at some point in the summer, and forgotten.
- If the furnace still doesn’t kick on, you’ll want to check the furnace fan, blower or heat pump. However, at this point, you’ll definitely want to call an HVAC team.
2. Change your air filters
Even if step #1 requires you to call in an HVAC professional, you can still move forward with the nexts two steps, starting with changing your air filters. Most likely, your filters are either behind a vent grille in the wall or ceiling, or a single filter in the HVAC system.
- If you’re like a lot of homeowners in the Portland area, you probably haven’t changed your filter since April or May, around the time that you were moving into cooling season.
- Now that autumn is here, and winter is coming, it’s time to get on your regular filter-changing schedule.
- Change your filter or filters now, and then again either every month, or every few months.
- Depending on the quality of filter, and how clean your ducts are, we recommend changing filters every 30 – 45 days during heating season.
- If you have a permanent filter, now is the time to wash it, and get ready to re-use.
- When you clean or change your furnace filters regularly, you keep particulates out of your HVAC system. This will help you extend the useful life of your furnace.
3. Tuck your AC condenser in for its winter nap
We know, it can be a little sad to say good-bye for the summer. But hey, at least your AC condenser knows you care enough to tuck it in to protect it from the rain, leaves, ice, and maybe even some snow that’s bound to come.
- If you don’t have a cover, consider using something like a large lid that you can secure down with straps or bungee cords.
- Remember, if your HVAC is a heat pump, DO NOT cover it, since it runs all year.
- Also, don’t cover your equipment with anything that will trap moisture in. That will create problems down the road.
Preparing your furnace and heating system for winter doesn’t need to be complicated.
We’ll take care of the steps above, as well as some of the others that typically require a professional, including:
Cleaning your heat exchanger
Lubricating and cleaning your blower motor
Testing your furnace’s igniter switch
Inspecting carbon monoxide detectors
Replacing filter and nozzle equipment on older, oil-powered furnaces.
Are you and your furnace ready for heating season? Contact Comfort Connection today. We’ll get you on our schedule, and help keep your Portland-area home comfortable through the winter.