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7 Essential Furnace Maintenance Tasks for Alberta Winter

That was summer!!???

Yea, that was summer, if anyone living in Edmonton can believe it. Days of rain and weeds. At ProSolutions we’re like you – hoping for a few tomatoes and veg. It’s too wet for a picnic, and what happened to the sun?

Seasons are changing. Kids back in school. Hockey, indoor soccer, night classes all starting.  And we’re thinking of winter, which is why we’ve written this brief article so that Edmonton homeowners like you can avoid costly furnace maintenance and repair.

At ProSolutions our job is to keep you warm over the winter, make sure that furnace of yours does its job – and not have you calling us on a frigid January morning because something’s gone wrong. Happily, that’s rare, but it’s still better to make sure it doesn’t happen, so…

Here are 7 Tips to Get Your Furnace Ready for Winter

We’ve put together a list of 7 major & minor preventative maintenance areas that you should handle each year as the season begins to change.

1. Make sure your furnace ducts are clean

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (bet you didn’t know it existed) recommends that your furnace and ducts should be cleaned every three to five years. In Edmonton, with all the dust generated by construction, ProSolutions recommends every 2-3 years. 

If you haven’t had those furnace ducts cleaned out in the last 2-3 years, here’s why you should:

  • Excessive dust on the furnace filter, or from hot air vents tells us there’s too much dust making it harder for your furnace to push air throughout your house. It could be because the furnace ducts haven’t been cleaned recently, or you’ve moved into a house that’s gone through construction, or maybe you’ve done some renovating yourself, and that’s caused the problem.
air duct cleaning
  • Signs of insects, or mice or their droppings in furnace ducts? Not only can you get nasty odours in the house, but there are also health risks with mice, such as that deadly hantavirus.
  • Mould in furnace ducts can be a health issue. Where it’s particularly dangerous is for family members with allergies or asthma.
  • Your favourite pet. That’s right. Your cat and your dog, especially those that shed, add dander into the air and then into your furnace filter and ducts. It can also cause reactions in those with allergies and asthma.

2. Check that furnace filter

There are so many different furnace filters to choose from. The more efficient ones take more particles from the air. As a result, they must be changed more often.

So…How often should you change your furnace filter?

Rule of thumb. Change the furnace filter every three months. However conditions vary by location, amount of dust in the air, pets, any construction by your home or renovation in it, smokers, etc,. The smart answer? Examine that filter once a month. If dust build-up is excessive, change it.

New furnace filter and dirty furnace filter changed after 3 months
This is a new and used furnace filter comparison. We took this filter out after 3 months of having just the fan run in our furnace during the summer. The amount of dust it picked up was incredible. We would not want to be breathing air that had been going through this any longer.

Here’s another point. Some furnace filters are specially designed to keep out health impacting allergens. However, that design can mean reduced airflow, lowering furnace efficiency.

Since the furnace has usually been forgotten and ignored over the summer months, at ProSolutions, we recommend that you install a new filter at the beginning of fall, and if required,  have the ducts cleaned.

3. Inspect important furnace components & systems for efficient winter operation

The Chimney

So easy to ignore, your chimney ventilates dangerous gases from the house. Is it safely sealed? Are carbon monoxide detectors working? At ProSolutions we test everything to make sure. 

The Thermostat

Some things you can do yourself. For example, replacing batteries. If it’s something else and you’re not sure you know what to do, let ProSolutions do it for you. You really don’t need mistakes.

Braeburn bluelink 7320 - Wi-Fi Furnace Thermostat set to 23 degrees
Programming your homes thermostat is a simple process requiring no more than a few minutes of your time. But having your home automatically adjust the temperature when no one is home or during the night can save your pocketbook and prevent premature wear from too frequent of running.

Pre Winter Tune-Up

We recommend that this is completed by an HVAC technician who will clean & identify areas of wear & tear. A tune-up is designed to be preventative. Much like a dentist or mechanic taking the time to inspect for future breakdown a Tune-up will help you plan for the future and save a potential breakdown in the dead of winter.

prosolutions furnace technician inspecting a high efficiency furnace during annual maintenance.
One of our ProSolutions furnace technicians checking out a customers furnace. Annual furnace maintenance may seem excessive, but we have all heard horror stories of failed furnaces after 10 years – usually, that is from neglect of furnace maintenance.

4. Keep Your Costs Down

Your furnace, running at high efficiency, can save you around 10% on your heating bill. Those savings mount up with heavy winter demand. By completing all the suggested furnace maintenance, ProSolutions can help you achieve those savings.

30 percent of your furnace efficiency can be lost by poor installation and maintenance.
It’s not just poor installation of your furnace that can cause loss of efficiency though. Improper maintenance reduces airflow efficiency which increases how much natural gas you will use during Albertas winter.

5. Add your furnace maintenance to your fall “to-do” list

You’ve gotten the kids back in school with all the demanded clothes and school supplies. You’ve cleaned up the garden following summer activities. Things you won’t need until next year you’ve put away. Don’t forget the furnace that keeps you warm through to next spring.

Goodman Furnace annual maintenance recommendations

At Pro Solutions we’re ready to help. General furnace maintenance, duct cleaning, or even replacing your furnace, that’s what we do. We’re here for advice. Want to chat, we can do that. 1 Call Solves It All.