Our Northwest

Chilly nights = start up and clean your furnace

Wednesday, September 16, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

Each fall I cling to my pledge to never turn the furnace on until October 1. Perhaps it’s my stubborn way of refusing to acknowledge that summer is over.
     I caved in last night.
     When I got home around 8 p.m., the indoor temperature was just 66 degrees. I knew it would be downright chilly at 5:30 this morning after running our box fan in the bedroom window all night, which we do as much for white noise as for fresh air.
     So I reluctantly activated our thermostat’s automatic winter setting, which kicks the heat on at 5:20 a.m.
     Then I remembered: I need to change the furnace filter. And also schedule an annual furnace checkup.
     Several safety tips from PEMCO’s claims experts came to mind:

  • Change filters every three months that the furnace is in use, even if it’s simply circulating air in the summer months.
  • Have your furnace and its vents, pipes, and chimneys inspected annually.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace. If they’re hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • If you burn wood, have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year to prevent creosote buildup (a black, sticky deposit formed by unburned wood gases), which can ignite chimney fires.

     If you burn wood only occasionally – such as during the holidays in your fireplace – you can get away with cleaning your chimney only every few years. But if you burn more than half a cord per year, get your chimney cleaned annually.

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