Talking About Air Conditioners

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Getting Your Gas Furnace Ready to Use in the Winter

As winter weather quickly approaches, you are probably already thinking about turning on your home's gas furnace. However, more needs to be done before simply turning the thermostat over to the heat setting. Ask yourself the following questions while you are getting your furnace ready to use in the winter so that you can catch any potential problems before the cold weather sets in.

1.  When Did You Last Change the Air Filter?

The first question you should ask yourself before you turn on your furnace is in regards to the air filter. When was the last time you changed the air filter? 

If you have recently changed the filter and only used it once or twice, you may be able to get by with a couple of more weeks without changing it. However, if it has been months since it was changed, you need to go ahead and do so.

Even though you did not use the furnace during the summer, it is likely that dust, pollen, mold, and other particulates have had time to fester and grow within the fibers. You do not want to spread these allergens throughout your home, so you should go ahead and replace the filter with a new one.

2.  What Is the Color of the Pilot Light?

Another question you should ask is about the pilot light. Right after lighting it, observe it for a few minutes to see what color it is.

If the pilot light is receiving the right amount of gas and air and is burning the appropriate amount of fuel, it will glow a bright blue color. This is normal and usually indicates that there are no issues.

However, if the light has a yellow color, this means that there is not enough air flowing through the thermocouple and mixing with the fuel. The fire is burning too much gas. When the pilot light is yellow, it usually means the burner will start or is burning off carbon monoxide. Since carbon monoxide poisoning is a dire concern, if you see any color other than blue, you should have your furnace looked at by a professional. They'll be able to diagnose any issues with the furnace, pilot light, or system.

Even if you do not see a change in the pilot light's color, it is a good idea to make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors' batteries are fresh. If you do not have any detectors, buy a couple for your house just to be safe.

2.  Do You Detect Any Strange Odors When You Run the Furnace?

Another question to ask when you first fire up your furnace is about any strange odors you may detect. These smells do not include the normal musty odors that you smell the first few times the furnace runs while it is burning off dust in the system.

Rather, do you detect a burning plastic or metallic odor? If so, there may be a problem with the wring. Another smell to watch for is an overpowering odor resembling rotten eggs. If you do detect this smell, there may be a gas leak. Either way, turn off the furnace immediately and call in a professional to inspect it.  

If you find or suspect any problems with your furnace or feel that more maintenance is needed, you should not try to deal with the issues yourself, and instead, call in a professional to hand them for you. Contact an HVAC contractor near you who offers heating system services to explain your current needs and discuss your options for having them come to your house to help.