January 5, 2022
By Mark Paup

Get Your Gas Furnace Ready for Iowa Winter

Updated January 18, 2024

Iowa winters can be brutal, so it’s a great idea to prepare your gas furnace to be ready to take on the cold. To make sure your furnace is functioning correctly and efficiently before the winter weather strikes, our expert HVAC technicians recommend taking the below steps:

Following these steps will keep your furnace in optimal condition, so you don’t have to worry about breakdowns on the coldest night of the winter. Besides, furnace maintenance helps you lower your energy bills and keeps your manufacturer’s warranty valid.

Let’s look at each of these steps more closely.

Need an experienced technician for a furnace system check or repair? We offer fast same-day service, fair and upfront pricing, and more repair options than any other HVAC company in Des Moines. Contact Golden Rule today!

Change Your Air Filters

One of the best things you can do to keep your gas furnace working as efficiently as possible is to check your air filters regularly and change them if they are dirty.

A thick layer of dirt and dust on your air filters can act as a barrier, preventing your system from warming your air and forcing it to work harder to meet your heating needs. When your system works harder than necessary, it’s wasting valuable energy and increasing your heating costs.

Not only does a dirty air filter affect your heating, but it can also significantly lower your indoor air quality. The air filter is less effective at trapping indoor contaminants like dust and pet dander from entering your home.

To prevent these issues, you should check your filter monthly. If it’s dirty, we recommend changing it. At a minimum, you should change your filters every three months. If you’re not sure what filter you need or where to place it in your system, our technicians would be happy to teach you.

Schedule a Heating System Check

An annual pre-season system check of your gas furnace can improve its efficiency and comfort.

By hiring a professional HVAC technician to do a system check, you’ll maintain your equipment, extend its lifespan, and prevent future problems and costly repairs. Since technicians in Des Moines are typically busy with emergency appointments during peak seasons like winter and summer, we recommend scheduling a system check sometime in the fall.

According to Energy Star, a technician should at least do the following things during a heating system check:

  • Test your thermostat settings to ensure its functioning correctly and set to keep you comfortable. Adjusting the settings may also help you save on energy costs.
  • Tighten all electrical connections to extend the lifespan of your gas furnace and ensure that it functions safely.
  • Lubricate all moving parts, including the blower motor. Furnace parts that aren’t lubricated enough will cause more friction, which uses more energy and drives up your bills.
  • Clean the heat exchanger by brushing and vacuuming it while the unit is off. The technician should also inspect it for any damage, which could lead to gas leaks in your home.
  • Test the system’s controls to ensure your furnace starts, operates and shuts off without issues.
  • Test gas connections, gas pressure, and burner combustion. If these connections aren’t operating correctly, they will be less efficient and could become a fire hazard.

To find a reliable technician in the Des Moines Metro area who can maintain your gas furnace with an annual heating system check, look for one with:

  • 10+ years of experience
  • An Iowa licenses
  • Upfront written estimates
  • Warranties, insurance, and guarantees on their work
  • Positive reviews from customers

Address Any Strange Noises or Smells

If you’re experiencing consistent problems with your furnace, it’s best to take care of them before the severe winter weather hits. By putting it off, you’re more likely to face issues like untimely breakdowns and expensive repairs.
So, what kinds of issues are we talking about here? Here are some examples of common furnace issues that you should address before winter:

Your furnace isn’t heating your home well:

It’s a good idea to schedule a maintenance appointment if your unit isn’t doing its job well. It may not be working correctly due to problems like leaking ductwork or a faulty thermostat. An HVAC professional is the best person to identify these issues and repair them quickly.

Persistent noises:

It’s normal for your furnace to make noises at some point, but loud, repetitive noises may be a sign of a problem. For example, if you hear whistling noises, they may be coming from the belt, most likely indicating a problem with the fan. Or loose parts inside your furnace may be causing consistent banging noises.
Try to describe the sounds to your HVAC technician while they’re inspecting the system. An experienced tech will know what problem may be associated with a particular noise and how to fix it.

Tripped carbon monoxide detector:

All furnaces should have a carbon monoxide detector built-in, which will alert you of any toxic gas emitting from your unit. If this alarm goes off, turn your furnace off, and open some windows to ventilate your home.
Then, be sure to reach out to your gas company and an HVAC technician. They will help you locate the source of the leak or determine if the detector has gone bad.

Abnormal smells:

You might notice a slight scent of gasoline the first time you turn your furnace on for the season. However, the smell should fade the longer your unit runs. It is due to the furnace burning buildup that has accumulated over the summer on its surface. If you notice a strong odor around your furnace that either appears suddenly or does not fade over time, be sure to call an HVAC technician to take a look at it.

Taking care of these issues before winter may not be fun, but you’ll thank yourself later. By addressing them instead of avoiding them, you’re much less likely to be stuck without an operating furnace during a winter freeze.

Need a Reliable HVAC Technician to Help You Prep Your Furnace for Winter in Iowa?

Contact Golden Rule. For more than two decades, our customers have trusted us to take good care of them and their HVAC systems. Whether you need a heating system check or a furnace repair, we offer flexible scheduling with our convenient morning and afternoon time slots. We’ll even provide real-time location updates to let you know when your technician is on the way.

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