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Shutting Down Your Furnace for the Season

furnace-burnersApril has been a cold month so far here in the Northeast! Sometimes it feels as if the winter will never end. But we’re almost there: the turning point where you won’t need your home’s furnace working on a regular basis. This brings up a good question: should you take any special steps to shut down the furnace for the summer?

What kind of furnace do you have?

If you use an electric furnace, there isn’t much you need to do about the furnace before summer arrives. You simply have to stop using it. We recommend changing out the filter before you switch over entirely to the air conditioner, since the AC and furnace use the same filter—and with all the work the furnace has had to do, the filter may be clogged. All the other work necessary to keep an electric furnace in good shape will be taken care of during the regular maintenance appointment in fall.

If you have a gas furnace, you may need to take a few extra steps.

  • Standing pilot light furnace: For furnaces that are more than 10 years old, a standing pilot light may be necessary to ignite the burners. If you can see a burning blue flame in your furnace at all times, that’s a standing pilot light. You don’t want this left on over the summer, since it consumes gas. Next to the the pilot light assembly is a small valve, turn it 90° and it should cause the pilot light to go out. Now your furnace won’t use any more gas power. (However, we recommend looking into getting a new furnace if your current one is old enough that it still has a pilot light.)
  • Electronic igniter/intermittent pilot light furnace: Modern furnaces don’t use standing pilot lights. Instead, they ignite the burners with an electrical hot surface or only light the pilot light when it’s time to activate the burners. Whether you want to shut off the gas to the burners entirely is up to you. If you have concerns that the furnace may turn on accidentally when the thermostat senses a temperature drop, then shut off the gas. Otherwise, the system shouldn’t waste any power.

Keep the furnace area clean

You always want the area around the furnace to be clean and clear. During winter, this promotes safety and more efficient performance. During the summer, it helps to stop dirt and dust from getting inside the furnace. Clutter often accumulates in closets with a furnace, so take the time now to clear it out.

See that room vents are clear

Go through your house and locate all the room vents. Make sure they are unobstructed and open. If they’re covered with dust, clean them off.

Finally, don’t shut down the furnace if you think it has a malfunction that requires heater repair in Fair Lawn, NJ. A lingering repair need can become hazardous, and will almost definitely turn into a more expensive repair later on. Have and furnace issues dealt with when they aren’t urgent—it’s far better than turning the furnace on for the first cold day of spring and find out it isn’t working.

Call Advanced Mechanical Services for heating and air conditioning service throughout the Tri-State Area.

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