Keep your home warm and safe

Winter is here, Airdrie.

That means cold, ice and snow, but it also means coming home to a warm and cozy home at the end of a long day.

For me, there is nothing better.

But what if instead of arriving home to a toasty, warm house, you open the door to a frigid environment because your furnace has broken down? Facing such a situation would be a much less pleasant way to spend the evening.

According to April Greenlaw of Iron Eagle Sheet Metal Ltd., a full-service heating, ventilation and air conditioning company located on Airdrie’s east side that has been operating since 1993, homeowners can avoid such a disaster by properly maintaining their furnaces.

“Not much effort is needed to ensure a safe, comfortable space for you and your family through the winter months,” she says.

Greenlaw provides several tips to help keep Airdrians’ furnaces running all winter long.

The first step, best completed in the fall before your furnace comes on, is to remove any items stored near the furnace, especially those that may be flammable. Also, you should move household items away from furnace vents or return air vents.

Ensure the power to your furnace is on by checking the breaker on the main electrical panel (or fuses in older homes).

In addition, ensure your furnace’s power switch is turned on. The control looks like a light switch and is usually located on the ceiling of your mechanical room, but may be on the wall as well, according to Greenlaw.

Next, check that the bottom door of the furnace is on and secured and ensure the gas valve is in the “on” position before turning the thermostat to “heat.”

Furnace filters should be cleaned or changed every few months. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly may prolong the life of your furnace and help you avoid service calls.

If you have a humidifier on your furnace, it is a good idea to change or clean the filter and pad on that unit at this time as well.

Check that the condensate drain from your furnace is clear of debris and is flowing properly.

If you have a high-efficiency furnace, you should locate the plastic vent that extends from your furnace to the outdoors, typically through an exterior wall.

According to Greenlaw, this vent can be a favourite place for bees and birds to build their homes, so ensure that it is free of debris.

Homeowners should check this vent frequently during the coldest days of winter to ensure it remains free of ice buildup.

If your furnace stops working, don’t panic. Check this outside vent and remove any debris from inside it before resetting the furnace by switching the power on and off.

If that doesn’t work, contact a qualified service company to fix the problem.

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