If you’re like most Virginia homeowners, you’re planning to wait as long as you can before switching your HVAC system to heat.

That’s not a terrible idea—whether for economic reasons (it can be pricey to keep toasty in Virginia winters) or because you’re in denial (summer’s not really over, is it?).

What is a terrible idea, though, is waiting until you need your furnace to test your furnace.

If the long-range forecast has you wondering where you stashed your flannel sheets, it’s time for a pre-winter HVAC check-up.

As your Virginia HVAC professionals, here’s what we recommend:

1.- If you have a preventive maintenance contract, use it. We’re always surprised by the number of customers who don’t take advantage of the services they’ve already purchased. If you have a pre-paid maintenance agreement, don’t wait until something goes wrong to call us. If you don’t have a contract, contact us to learn how to get one.

2.- Inspect your furnace. Whether or not you have a pre-paid maintenance agreement, it’s important to have your furnace inspected twice per year—once before summer and once before winter.
A thorough, multi-point furnace service will include cleaning the heat exchanger and blower motor, inspecting the blower belt for cracks, testing the igniter, and checking for debris in the exhaust chimney. While there are plenty of things homeowners can do on their own to prep their system for winter, these more technical tasks should be left up to a professional.

3. Clean up. Take a few moments to clear the area around your furnace. Then, gently vacuum the interior components. Don’t forget to close the blower door when you’re done.

4- Do a test run. Switch your thermostat to heat, bump up the temperature a few degrees, and listen for the heat to turn on. If you don’t hear the system fire up after a couple of minutes, have a professional diagnosis the problem. It could be something as simple as a worn out thermostat, but it could be a more complicated issue with the blower, heat pump, or fan.

If the system does switch on, go listen to the furnace as it starts up and as it’s running. Some blower motors require lubrication, so if you hear squeaks or squawks, that’s likely the culprit.

5.-Change your filter. One the easiest and least expensive steps you can take to improve your furnace’s efficiency—and even extend its life—is to install a clean filter at least every three months. If you have pets, consider doing so every month. While you’re in the mood to clean, vacuum your floor registers and air intakes.

6- Protect your AC condenser. Unless you have a heat pump that runs year-round, consider covering your AC condenser to protect it from falling ice and snow.

For Virginia furnance maintenance, no one beats Abel Air Services. Give us a call to schedule your inspection today.

Abel Air Services proudly serving: Arlington, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Bristow, Centreville, Nokesville, Gainesville, Manassas, Manassas Park, Warrenton, Chantilly, Reston, Herndon, Fairfax, Oakton, Clifton, Fairfax Station, Burke, Springfield and Alexandria.