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How to Prep and Start Up Your Furnace Safely

Published on: November 22, 2019

IMPORTANT NOTE: . Our company is located in British Columbia, Canada. If you are reading this article in another location, we hope you enjoy the information, but unfortunately we cannot service you. 

It’s getting colder and colder outside, so naturally it’s time to switch on your furnace. How long has it been since you last looked at it though? Has it been a while? If so, then before you go near your home’s heating you may want to read this first.

It’s always best to prepare to turn on the heat safely and without concern about making any heating mistakes in the process. So in this article, we’re going to over some safety tips plus how to prepare your home for the colder weather as you turn on the heat and get the most comfort out of your HVAC this season.

Step 1: First and foremost, get an inspection done

An inspection of your furnace will guarantee that if there are any underlying problems, they’ll be detected and identified before you switch it on for the season. Issues that a professional technician can address and fix include poor air quality, burning smells lasting longer than 5 minutes, burner cleaning, and velocity testing to name a few. They can also identify whether the furnace is getting too old for repairs and when a new installation is the best option for your home.

While this step sounds simple enough, it will make a big difference in the long run in terms of energy and cost.

Step 2: Clean it up, inside and out

Even if you cleaned it a while ago, dust and dirt can still collect and gather around the furnace. If it’s especially been a while since you last cleaned the air filter, now is definitely time to do so before you switch that furnace on. Bonus points if you cleaned it before you call an HVAC company for an inspection (it’s one less worry for your technician to do!).

The air filter is not the only feature that could use cleaning also. You need to clear out approximately 2 to 3 feet of space around the exterior of your furnace and the vents. This is to achieve maximum airflow and ensure it will run at peak efficiency. Removing the front panel of the furnace while it’s switched off and using a vacuum cleaner on it can also suck up the dirt and dust that may be costing you money.

Also, check around for mold and rust, both of which can poorly affect your furnace’s pilot light and ventilation. The two particulates can arise during humid months or if your home is subject to condensation problems. Ensuring good air quality will keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Step 3: Set the thermostat up properly

Now that everything has been cleaned, it’s time to address the thermostat. Set it to the recommended temperature of between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius (65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit). Any higher or lower than this temperature will not go well in terms of energy and money spending. What you should feel as a result is immediate heat coming from the vents. A lot of the time, if you smell something burning, it’s usually a little leftover dust that you couldn’t reach while cleaning in the vents. This is normal and it should pass after 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, however, and the burning smell persists, turn the furnace off and call your technician. This is a task only they’ll be able to figure out why something is going wrong.

Step 4: Ignite the furnace

This step applies to gas furnaces, which is one of our specialties. First, you’re going to need the instructions manual for your furnace—the steps should be outlined there. However, if the printing is too small to read or the label is too difficult to locate and read, then that’s a problem. Set this aside but keep it on hand in another part of the room.

Next, find the pilot light and its components. Most gas furnaces usually have a switch at the bottom that will say ‘Pilot’, ‘On’, and ‘Off’. Find this switch and make sure it’s in the ‘Off’ position, or turn it to that. Wait 5 minutes for the gas to dissipate (this will help avoid a potential fire from starting up!). While waiting take note of where the reset button is located, which should be near the dial you just set to ‘Off’.

This next step requires a long lighter (they’re found in most hardware stores if you don’t have one already). Once the gas has completely dissipated, turn the dial to ‘Pilot’, then hold down the Reset button. As you hold down on the Reset button, bring the flame from your long lighter up close to the pilot light opening. This should ignite the furnace’s pilot light. Once you’re sure the pilot light has been switched on, release your pressure on the reset button.

While this step isn’t 100% necessary, it’s a good skill to build up especially if you want to take care of your own heating. Following these steps, as well as your instructions manual if and when need be, can ensure your home will become warm properly.

Step 5: Get cozy and enjoy!

Whether it’s raining or snowing, take comfort in the fact that your home is comfortable now that you’ve gone through these steps safely and according to the regular guidelines. Grab yourself a hot drink and a good book or the remote control for Netflix, and enjoy being cozy and warm while the weather outside is less so.

Get your furnace inspected by professionals if you’re still stuck at step 1, or if the pilot light fails to stay on or it won’t light after releasing the Reset button (that definitely means something’s wrong!). Our team is certified and capable of checking over furnaces, even electrical issues. At Rep-Air Heating And Cooling we provide our customers with many options that will best suit your needs from heating and cooling to refrigeration. Contact us today for your complimentary quote: 1-778-728-1476 or and don’t forget to take a look at our website: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for free giveaways!

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