The cold weather came quickly this year, even for Dallas, TX. With our first freezing temperature hitting in early November, we are 10 days ahead of the normal schedule. The cold temperatures are expected to last through the week before warming back up for the rest of November. So take this week as a training exercise for the long term, cold spell we will face in December.
Turning on the furnace for the first time in Dallas, can cause more problems than turning on the A/C for the first time. This is because we rarely use our furnaces compared to other parts of the country. With fewer months of use, that means our furnaces sit for a lot longer and can face bigger problems with initial use. Follow the steps below to ensure your furnace will work well for the few cold months in Texas.
1. Check the Air Filter
The hot weather of Dallas means our furnaces collect dust, literally, most of the year. Cleaning the air filter or even (replacing it) should be done especially at the start of the season. Every 3 to 4 months is recommended, but for those of us in Dallas, replacing it once at the start of the cold season can be done. Air filters are cheap and well worth it compared to cleaning a filter by hand.
2. Follow Your Nose
According to FEMA, heating is second only to cooking as the leading cause of residential fires in cold months. You will likely smell a burning scent, while this is normally caused by dust and lint blocking the air filter, it could lead to a fire. It should only last for a few hours, if the furnace smells every time you turn it on, it’s likely a more severe issue with the air filter. It could also be a toy dropped in the heat exchange or items near the furnace. Always be sure to remove any items touching or close to the furnace to avoid a fire.
3. No Heat or Not Enough?
The two main problems of a furnace are not producing any heat or not enough heat. While the cause could be minor, it might also require a heating expert. First check that the thermostat is on heat and working and set to a warm temperature. It’s best to allow the home to warm slowly, rather than crank it up in a rapid amount of time. Second, confirm the circuit isn’t tripped, something that can happen if you have a high load near the furnace. Finally, check the air filters, if the problem still persists it could be a more serious problem that deserves a technician.