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Should I Shut Down My Furnace When Warm Weather Arrives?

furnace-flamesIt’s the first week of spring! That doesn’t mean the weather will instantly turn warm, of course. But it does signal the start of making plans for the coming change in weather. We strongly recommend using the time to schedule maintenance for your air conditioning system so it’s ready to go on the first day of hot weather.

But when air conditioning systems turn on, does that mean furnaces should turn off? All the way off? That’s a good question.

First, do you ever have a need to turn the furnace on during summer?

Not all homes are built with the same level of insulation, so it’s possible you may live in a house that can get drafty during cold weather—even a cold evening. Temperature can get down into the 50s during the evening in the main months of summer here, and for older homes that may be enough to make it necessary to turn on a furnace. If this is the case, then you shouldn’t turn the furnace off for the season. Set the thermostat so the furnace will only come on if the temperature drops to around 50°F. (On thermostats that run both the heater and AC, make sure the system is switched over to “cool” and the furnace won’t turn on.)

Does your furnace use a standing pilot light?

If you don’t see any reason why you’d need the furnace over the summer, your decision whether to shut it off for the season will be based on what kind of furnace it is. If it’s a natural gas furnace that uses a standing pilot light to ignite the burners, then we recommend you shut it all the way off by turning off the gas to it. If you don’t do this, the pilot light will continue to burn throughout the summer, which is a waste of gas.

If you have a natural gas furnace that uses an electronic ignition system, which is what most modern furnaces use, then the system won’t consume any extra gas over the summer. It’s fine to simply stop using the furnace if this is the case rather than shut it off entirely. The only exception is when you plan to be away from your home for an extended period of time (more than a week), in which case it’s safer to have any gas appliances shut down entirely.

By the way, none of this applies to an electric furnace. You need electricity no matter what, so there’s no reason to shut down an electric furnace. Simply stop using it.

There’s one more thing we have to bring up, and that’s a furnace that’s malfunctioning. If you’ve noticed your furnace acting oddly or if its performance has declined in any way, don’t shrug it off because you soon won’t need it. A furnace shouldn’t end the heating season with a repair need. Please call for furnace repair in Brighton, MI from our professionals as soon as you notice problems. We’ll make sure your furnace is ready to go the next time you need it and prevent any safety issues.

First Choice Heating & Cooling serves Fenton, Linden, Holly, and the surrounding areas. If your home had a voice, it would call First Choice!

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