Getting ready for the harsh Wisconsin winter means having your HVAC system in tip-top shape. Your furnace works hard to combat the freezing cold temperatures in the middle of winter, but if you don’t properly maintain your system, you may freeze through the teeth-chattering weather. The best way to ensure your complete HVAC system is ready for the brutal months is to schedule maintenance and winterization with Southport Home Services, your trusted HVAC partner. We’ll perform the work you need to stay running, keeping you warm and safe through the winter.

Getting Your Furnace Ready for the Cold

Having your furnace checked out and tuned up before the cold hits is the best way to ensure you aren’t left out in the cold this winter. Having a professional HVAC technician come to your house and perform winter maintenance is recommended annually to identify any problems or impending issues with your furnace. Let’s take a look at some of the things your technician should do during this visit.

Clean or Change Air Filter

The air filter in your furnace helps to remove dirt, dust, and allergens from the air you and your family breathe, leaving your home safer for your health. It also helps keep your furnace clean. This air filter needs cleaned or replaced regularly to continue providing this benefit and keep the air in your home clean and safe.

Check Fuel Supply

If you have a gas furnace, you need fuel to run it. In some cases, you may have a gas line running directly into your home, which you pay for on your monthly bill, giving you ongoing access to the fuel without the need to act further. In other instances, you may have a tank outside your home that needs to be filled periodically. Your technician can check the fuel level in your tank and even show you how to check it. Be sure you have plenty of gas in your tank to run your furnace, and check it periodically throughout the winter.

Check for Strange Noises or Smells

As part of inspecting your furnace, your technician will turn the unit on and let it run for a few minutes. By doing so, the technician can listen for any strange noises during operation that may indicate a problem. The technician will also check for odd smells that can indicate a hazard or failure as well. Remember that, the first time you use your furnace for the season, you may smell a slight burning odor due to the dust that has collected over the summer. If you continue to smell something burning or odd, let your technician know.

Clean Furnace

Just like anything else in your home, your furnace collects dust and needs cleaning. A professional technician will complete this cleaning, getting dust, dirt, and debris out of the unit for cleaner air and better operation.

Check the Blower

The blower on your furnace is the motorized component that pushes the warm air through your ducts to heat your home. If your furnace blower fails, you won’t have any heat coming out of your vents, though you will still hear your furnace kick on. The blower is one of the many parts of your furnace that may eventually fail and need replacement. If there are signs of excessive wear or damage, your technician may recommend replacing the blower before it fails completely.

Check Belt

Your furnace belt is another integral part of keeping your heating unit running as it should. A technician will check this belt during the furnace inspection, looking for cracks and other damage. The belt may also loosen over time, causing it to fall off track. If the belt is damaged, worn beyond use, or too loose, your HVAC technician will replace it.

Lubricate Moving Parts

Moving parts inside of any machine creates friction. Friction can lead to excessive wear and tear over time, causing a breakdown in your system. Some of the moving parts need lubrication to run smoothly without risk of damage. Your HVAC technician knows what parts move and require lubrication and will make sure they are properly lubricated as part of the inspection.

Inspect and Clean Ducts & Vents

With a forced-air furnace, your unit blows hot air through ductwork and out of vents to different parts of your home in order to heat the house. If your ducts are blocked, this air won’t travel where it needs to. Having a blockage in your ductwork can lead to inconsistent heating in your home. In addition, dirt and debris can sometimes sit inside your ducts. When the furnace is turned on and hot air blown through the ducts, this dirt and debris will blow out of your vents and into your living space. Your HVAC technician will inspect your ducts to ensure there is no excessive dirt or dust inside of them and remove any blockages inside.

Calibrate Thermostat

Calibrating your thermostat involves checking that the temperature it displays matches the correct temperature of your room. Your HVAC technician will check this as part of your inspection and tune-up process. Having a correctly calibrated thermostat assists with having an energy-efficient home and regulating the temperature better. This is also a great time to program your thermostat based on your habits. Programming your thermostat allows you to keep the house at a comfortable temperature during the times you are home and awake. You can also program your thermostat to run less while you are sleeping or away from the house. Doing so helps you save money on your heating bill without coming home to a freezing cold house.

Winterize Outdoor HVAC Equipment

We don’t always think too much about our air conditioning over the winter months in Wisconsin. However, properly winterizing the unit before the cold sets in is a good way to extend the life of your system and keep it in better working condition.

Clean the Unit

Wipe or wash down the exterior of the unit, removing any leaves, grass clippings, or other debris from the top of the unit and areas where you can easily reach.

Trim Greenery Around the Unit

Cut away weeds and tall grass growing around your air conditioner. Trim back bushes, shrubs, or trees growing nearby so that they do not crowd your unit.

Check Overhead Gutters

Make sure your gutters above the air conditioner are clear and clean. If they clog up, water may spill over the side and directly onto your air conditioner. Obviously, your cooling unit is subjected to the elements outdoors all year round, but having water pour directly onto the unit can take a toll.

When the colder months start creeping in, it’s a great time to take the proactive steps of preparing your heating and cooling units for winter. Madison and the surrounding areas of Wisconsin are known for brutally cold, harsh winters. You need a furnace that can keep up. Failure of your heating unit can be uncomfortable or even dangerous.

Don’t let the winter months freeze you out. Contact Southport Home Services today and get your home’s HVAC system ready for the Wisconsin weather. In addition to furnace maintenance, we also provide air conditioning installation and maintenance as well as plumbing solutions.

Meet the Author
Thomas Suchla
Thomas Suchla


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