Before long, the freezing weather of the Wausau, WI winter will be upon us, and that means you’ll be relying heavily on your furnace to keep your home comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with cranking the heater up regularly, but that extra usage can put quite a bit of strain on your furnace. In fact, if you don’t take measures to prepare your heating system for the cold season, then its performance, efficiency, and overall health may start to suffer. Fortunately, there are several easy steps you can take to make sure that your furnace is fully equipped for the increasing demands of winter.

1. Schedule a Professional Tune-Up

Ideally, you should be scheduling professional furnace maintenance at least once every year. Whether you’ve been staying on top of it or not, though, it’s never a bad idea to schedule a tune-up before the cold weather arrives. Over time, your furnace gradually takes on wear and tear as it operates. Gradually, its components will wear down, it will accumulate contaminants like dust and dirt, and various equipment problems will pop up. When you bring in professional heating technicians for a tune-up, they’ll take measures to counteract these issues and get the system running like new again.

Typically, a furnace tune-up involves cleaning out the appliance, inspecting the condition of its various parts, and checking for any signs of current or future problems. As a result, the system will be able to run much more smoothly and efficiently when you need it the most. Plus, the odds of the furnace experiencing a breakdown or serious malfunction during winter will decrease significantly. In the greater Wausau area, you can always count on our team at Southport Home Services to handle your furnace maintenance. We’ll make sure your heating system is in tip-top shape and up to the task of keeping your family warm throughout the freezing Wisconsin winter.

2. Replace the Air Filter

Another effective way to prepare your furnace for winter is to switch out its old air filter for a new one. Whenever your heating system is running, its air filter traps airborne contaminants like dust, pollen, and mold spores. And if you wait too long to replace the filter, it will eventually become very dirty or even clogged with contaminant particles. When your furnace’s air filter becomes clogged, it can hamper the appliance’s airflow, which can put extra strain on the equipment and increase the likelihood of a mechanical problem. Plus, it can negatively affect the furnace’s overall performance and energy efficiency.

Depending on the type of air filter you use and how often you use your furnace, you should switch the filter out every one to three months. And if it’s been a while since the last time you made the switch, it’s definitely a wise idea to replace the current filter with a new one before the winter weather kicks into full gear. Otherwise, you could end up uncomfortable and dealing with expensive monthly heating bills.

3. Schedule a Duct Cleaning

Although many homeowners don’t realize it, the health and condition of your home’s air ducts can have a major effect on the performance of your furnace. Over time, various contaminants will naturally accumulate inside your air ducts. If enough of those particles are allowed to build up, they can start to obstruct your heating system’s airflow as it attempts to warm your household. When that happens, your furnace has to increase its air pressure just to effectively circulate air, which puts more wear and tear on the equipment and uses up more energy. As a result, malfunctions and breakdowns become more likely, and your monthly heating costs increase. So, since you’ll be running your furnace regularly during the chilly Wisconsin winter, the difference between having clean and dirty air ducts can be very significant.

So, before the cold weather arrives, make a point to have your air ducts cleaned by professionals. In addition to clearing out the contaminants, your hired ductwork professionals will be able to inspect the ductwork for any leaks or other problems, which can also cause some major issues for your furnace.

4. Clean Your Air Vents

Another factor that will influence your furnace this winter is the cleanliness of your home’s air vents. After the air your heating system circulates passes through your ducts, it must flow from your air vents to reach your living space. If those vents haven’t been cleaned in months or years, they’ll almost certainly be packed with dirt, dust, and debris. That means that it will be much harder for your furnace to push air through, which will lead to discomfort and lots of wasted energy throughout the chilly winter months.

Fortunately, cleaning your household air vents should be pretty quick and easy. Most likely, all you’ll need is a screwdriver for removing the protective covers and a vacuum cleaner with a hose extension. Simply take off the covers and use the vacuum hose to suck up the contaminants, and your air vents should be nice and clean. Ideally, you should try to do this once a month or so to keep your HVAC system running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

5. Give Your Furnace a Test Run

Until the weather starts to get cold, you probably don’t have much reason to use your furnace. So, there’s a good chance that when winter arrives, you’ll be running your heating system for the first time in months. And the last thing you want is to turn on the heat in November only to find that there’s something seriously wrong with your furnace. To make sure that doesn’t happen, it’s always a good idea to give your heating unit a test run before the temperature outside drops too low. You’ll want to turn up the heat in your home and pay close attention to how your furnace responds. Listen for any strange noises, check for any cold spots around the house, and verify that the airflow is strong and consistent.

If you notice anything unusual, give us a call at Southport Home Services. Our expert heating team will inspect your furnace, diagnose any issues, and take care of any needed repairs. That way, when winter does arrive, you’ll know that your heating system is in excellent condition and ready to keep you warm and cozy.

6. Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

An important part of preparing a gas furnace for winter is making sure that it can run as safely as possible. And to make sure your furnace isn’t creating a safety risk for you and your family, you need to have working carbon monoxide detectors. If certain mechanical problems occur with your furnace, it can release dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. As long as you have working detectors, though, they will alert you quickly to the gas’s presence, and you’ll be able to evacuate the home. So, before you start running your furnace frequently, test your carbon monoxide detectors, and if necessary, replace the batteries.

At Southport Home Services, we’ve been proudly serving the greater Wausau area since 2005. We offer high-quality heating, cooling, indoor air quality, and plumbing services. Our team members hold themselves to high professional standards, and we’re always willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of our customers. Give Southport Home Services a call today if you’re ready to schedule an appointment!

Meet the Author
Thomas Suchla
Thomas Suchla


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