Turn Up The Heat! Fall is Here. Is Your Furnace Ready?

Date Published: October 4, 2016

The days are getting shorter and shorter and the colors on the leaves are changing. Most importantly, your house is starting to get colder and you may be thinking about kicking that furnace back on. If so, now is the perfect time to do some routine maintenance to make sure you and your family are warming up in the best way possible. So… when is the last time you checked your furnace filter?

Dirty and Damaged Furnace Filter

Change Your Furnace Filter:

The old furnace filter; so easily forgotten about, yet so very important to proper operation of your furnace. A clean air filter will help warm your house faster, make the air blowing around your house cleaner, and help increase the lifespan of your heating equipment. Filters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are disposable and some are reusable or washable. All of them are fairly inexpensive and can make a world of difference – especially if you have pets or if you personally have bad allergies.

Male reaching up to open filter holder for air conditioning filter in ceiling

One thing to keep in mind is you might have more than one filter. They are most commonly located in the furnace near the blower at the bottom, perhaps behind a cover. However, when the heating equipment is in the attic or in an upstairs closet, the filter can be located at the actual return vent. Take a look around and see if you see any vents that look similar to the picture to the left.

Service Your Heating Equipment:

HVAC companies offer annual servicing where they make sure the heating unit is running properly and efficiently, which we do recommend, particularly if it has been a while since your last service check. An easy test that you can do is run your heater and use a thermometer to read the temperature of the air coming out of a register. The air should be between 80-100 degrees F. If it is lower than that, it may indicate a problem with your unit. Call an HVAC professional to have them diagnose the issue and perform a service check-up.

Clean Your Ducts:

Cleaning your ducts is not something that needs to be done every year, but if you were able to see the inside of them, you might reconsider. Since the air in your house is recirculated by your furnace and nothing is vented to the exterior, dust and debris will start to build up in the ducts. Your filter is there to trap as much as possible, but it can’t get it all. Especially if you have indoor house pets, hair and dander can build up over time. This will also help with the flow of air. If you feel like you are not getting adequate air flow in certain areas of your home, you may want to try cleaning your ducts as a possible solution.


Winter is coming. Keep your bills down and keep your family warm by staying on top of your heating system maintenance. If you have any other questions for us, leave a comment or visit our Ask-Your-Inspector page and view all our informational blog posts, or fill out the right hand form to ask us a question. Also, check out this great article from Angie’s List for even more information: What’s That Funny Smell When the Heat Turns On?

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About the Author: Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an ASHI certified home inspector with multiple years of experience in home inspections, blower door testing, duct leakage testing, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Chris is also the Website Coordinator for Scott Home Inspection.

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