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Wyckoff’s 9 Winter Tips for a Safe, Efficient Season

Whether we’re ready or not, another Iowa winter is nearly upon us. This time of year your furnace is working overtime to keep up with plummeting temperatures. Check out Wyckoff’s 9 ways you can maximize efficiency and, most importantly, ensure the safe operation of your HVAC system all season long.

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors. Did you know carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States? The colorless, odorless gas can be difficult to detect without assistance from a detector. Protect your home and family, especially if you have a preexisting condition such as asthma or emphysema, by installing detectors this year. Battery-operated detectors should be installed on every level of your home, and particularly near sleeping areas.
  2. Examine carbon monoxide detectors. A carbon monoxide leak is one of the biggest safety threats a furnace malfunction can pose to your home. Check that all carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly, and install new batteries in each unit. You should also examine the detector’s expiration date. Most carbon monoxide detectors will last five to seven years, and should be replaced after that timeframe. Check for a tag or date stamp on the back of the detector for an expiration date or indication of age.
  3. Test smoke alarms.Severe furnace problems can lead to fire hazards, which is why this is the time of year that you should also be checking your home’s smoke alarms. Just like your carbon monoxide detectors, test all of the smoke alarms in your home and install a fresh pair of batteries in each unit.
  4. Keep your furnace and surrounding area clean and clear. The area around your furnace should always remain clean and unobstructed by dirt and belongings in order to ensure efficiency and safety. This will help to minimize the risk of fire, and is especially true for any flammable products or materials, such as paint thinners and gasoline.
  5. Change the furnace filter. Dirty air filters restrict airflow to your furnace, which in turn, can overwork and overheat your HVAC system. This has the potential to result in a carbon monoxide leak or, as dirt and debris build up, can cause your furnace to break down altogether. By investing in clean filters, you will maximize performance and efficiency, while ensuring safety – a small price to pay for significant results.
  6. Close the front panel. Do not operate your furnace without the front panel door securely closed. Many furnaces today have a safety switch that prevents the furnace from operating when the front panel is open, as an open panel can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  7. Keep registers clean and 80 percent open. Regularly clean and vacuum your heating and cooling registers to remove lint, dust and debris. Be sure to keep the area around the registers clear and unobstructed by furniture and rugs, as this poses the risk of a fire hazard and reduces system efficiency. You may choose to close registers to an unused room in the winter. Just be careful not to close too many of the registers as it can cause high resistance and heat build-up in the furnace.
  8. Clean vents and flues. Blocked vents or chimney flues are a common cause of carbon monoxide leaks. Your ventilation system is designed to move the deadly gases out of your home, but can get clogged over time with dust and debris. Regular inspection and cleaning of vents and flues is important to ensure adequate airflow.
  9. Schedule routine maintenance. Invest in planned service with Wyckoff’s Peace of Mind program. This entails two, annual service visits, 10 percent off regular service rates, 15 percent off parts and accessories and helpful tips from our experts to help save on your energy costs and ensure you experience quality comfort year-round. The cost of planned maintenance often pays off in the long run, prolonging the lifetime and increasing the efficiency of your system.
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