Winter still has a few weeks left, which means you still need the use of your furnace. However, once the cold weather leaves, it will be time to shut down the system. Here are some steps you'll need to take shut your furnace down until next winter.
Clean the Exterior Components
When it comes to shutting down your furnace, one of the most important things you can do is clean the exterior components. Your furnace has probably attracted a lot of dust over the past few months. Shutting your furnace down after winter without removing the dust could leave you with some serious problems when you try to light it up again next winter. To give your furnace a proper cleaning, use a shop vacuum to remove all the visible dirt and dust. If if appears that there's an accumulation of dirt and dust inside the furnace, schedule a maintenance appointment as soon as possible.
Inspect the Furnace Filter
If your furnace and air conditioner are part of a larger HVAC system, you'll be using your filter throughout the year. As part of your furnace shutdown procedures, you'll want to inspect the furnace to ensure that it's ready for use with your air conditioner.
If your filter is no longer the color that it was when you installed it, you need to replace it before you shut your furnace down. This is particularly important if your filter has changed from white or gray to a dark brown. The dark color is a sign that your filter is no longer useful.
Most filters have threads or filament that are visible when they're brand new. Over time, the filters fill with dirt and dust, making the threads difficult to see. If you can no longer see the threads or filament in your filter, it's time to replace it.
If your filter was installed more than four months ago, you should replace it as part of your furnace shutdown procedure. If you have a hard time remembering when to change your filters, use a marker to write the date on the filter each time you replace one.
Follow Final Shut-Down Procedures
Once you've taken care of the basic maintenance you'll need to perform once winter is over, you'll need to perform the final shut-down procedures. The first thing you'll need to do is shut off the pilot light. Not only will that cut down on the wear and tear on your furnace, it will also help you save on your energy bill. Next, switch your thermostat from the heat setting over to the cool setting. That way, you don't have an unpleasant burst of hot air the first time you turn your air conditioner on. Finally, if your registers have dirt deposits, have your ducts cleaned by a furnace service.