Heating Season – Gas Furnace Start-Up

As we make our way through a chilly house in the morning and stumble towards the kitchen to get our first cup of coffee for the day, we realize along the way that this is going to be the day: the day we must awaken our furnace by sliding the switch on the thermostat over to HEAT mode and enjoy the familiar aroma of dust being burned-off the heat exchanger.

While I hope that everyone’s furnace has enjoyed the time off and is ready for the season ahead, I want to share a few things I typically take care of this time of year and recommend to everyone with a forced hot air gas furnace.  The first thing, and it’s been said several times before, is to change the air filter.  This is too often forgotten about, but is one of the easiest things to prevent problems and ensure proper and efficient operation.  Next, since I have a humidifier, I make sure I have a new media pad in place so that the water will be properly suspended and easily available to be evaporated into the air stream.  After all, having the proper humidity can eliminate static electricity, makes you feel warmer, and is healthier for people with asthma and upper respiratory issue.  Now it’s time to shut the power OFF to the furnace, take a lightly dampened cloth, and carefully wipe any surface dust that I have easy access to in blower and burner areas, making sure to stay away from the hot surface igniter.  As preventative maintenance, I clean the flame sensor with #0000 steel wool; even though it may look clean, if it doesn’t detect the right amount of micro amps, the furnace won’t operate.  The vent system is next on the list.  Inspect that all pipes are in good condition and connected securely.  If you have a high efficiency furnace, you will want to go outside to make sure there are no obstructions to the flue and combustion air in-take terminations, and verify the condensate line that runs to either the floor drain or condensate drain is clear.  If everything checks out, turn on the power, set the thermostat to HEAT and adjust the temperature a few degrees higher than the current room temperature, and observe the furnace cycling.  NOTE:  Most new furnaces have a control board that has a programmed sequence of operation.  Should a problem occur, the board typically has an LED that emits a flash code indicating an error code.  Error codes can be found in the manuals to the furnace, and on some units may be printed either on the control board or the back of one of the doors to the furnace.

If you use LP/Propane Gas, and if your unit is in a damp location, have a close look at your burners to make sure they are free of rust and that little spiders or webs are not obstructing the gas flow, especially along the carry-over area (this is where the flame catches and moves along to the next burner until all the burners are lit).

Some customers, especially those in more rural locations, like to have a few repair parts available in an emergency such as an igniter, flame sensor, or control board.  If you’d like to do so, go to our online store or call us to place your order.

I hope this bonding experience with your furnace proves to be helpful and ensures a trouble-free heating season with your Winchester furnace.  Should you have a problem and need assistance, we offer FREE troubleshooting as long as you own the furnace.  Give us a call and be sure to have your unit model and serial numbers, and if possible the error flash code, so we may expedite your call.  In many cases, Hamilton can troubleshoot and diagnose over the phone and save you money on a service call.

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