Steps to Take Before You Turn On Your Furnace

The warm days of summer are being replaced by cool morning and windy afternoons, and that means it’s time to cover your central air conditioner and switch on your furnace. However, there is more to turning your furnace on than simply flipping a switch.

Preparing your furnace for the long winter ahead is critical to ensure it works properly when you really need it. Here are a few steps you need to take before you turn on your furnace.

Change the Air Filter

One of the most inexpensive and simple ways to ensure your furnace runs at peak performance during the winter is to change the air filter before you turn on the unit. The placement of your filter is dependent on the type of furnace you have.


For example, if you have an upflow furnace, the filter will typically be found near the cold-air return.


There are several different types of furnace filters available, and the model you choose is dependent upon your needs and budget. For example, a fiberglass filter is inexpensive, but you will need to replace it often. If a family member suffers from allergies, then a HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate arrestance, furnace is a great option. There are also reusable air filters that you can simply wash, dry and reinsert.

Clean the Registers

The next step is to clean the area around all the registers, and if possible, inside the registers. There should be nothing obstructing your registers, as this will lower your home’s energy efficiency. When there are objects in front of the registers, your furnace must work harder to keep your home comfortable. This will cost you money and cause your furnace to break down prematurely.

Next, remove all the register covers and clean out any dirt, dust and other debris with your vacuum’s hose attachment. You may need a screwdriver to remove some of the covers.

Examine the Exterior Intake

Much like with your interior registers, it is important to ensure that your HVAC system’s exterior intake is free from obstructions. The exterior intake draws air into the furnace, and this air is then heated so it can keep your home toasty throughout the winter. If there is something in the way, your furnace cannot work properly, and this will lower its efficiency or cause the unit to stop working altogether.

Clear away any sticks, foliage and other debris from the intake, which is typically found near the ground on the side of your home. You may also need to cut back shrubs and trees to ensure the vents receive adequate air flow.

If you aren’t able to locate your home’s exterior vent, contact a professional for assistance.

Have Your HVAC Unit Inspected

Finally, the most important step you need to take before you switch your furnace on is to have the unit and ductwork inspected by a professional. An HVAC technician can pinpoint any potential problems and make sure that every aspect of the system is running smoothly.

Here are a few of the things the technician will do during this inspection:

Check the furnace flue. Fumes that are created by the furnace escape out the flue. If the flue is blocked, this can negatively impact your home’s air quality.
Examine the electrical components. The technician will check all the electrical aspects of the furnace to ensure there isn’t any damage.

Lubricate the motor. All the motor’s moving parts will be lubricated to prevent friction.

Lastly, the technician will turn on your furnace to ensure everything is running smoothly.

From changing the air filter to scheduling your yearly inspection, there are several steps you need to take before turning on your furnace. If you have any further questions, contact Eubanks Air Conditioning & Appliance Service.

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