After all the wait, summers are finally here and you no longer need to heat your home for a while. But have to turn off the furnace yet? You might still be lost in deciding whether you should turn it off or not. You have got a lot of company!
Every year dozens of our customers call in to request a service visit to turn off the furnace or ask questions on how to do it. The very nature of furnace handling is risky so we decided to make a simple and easy guide for homeowners like you. With a little background knowledge, you can easily do it for yourself. Let us first see if you should turn it off or not.
WHAT IS A FURNACE SHUTDOWN?
A furnace shutdown can help you reduce the carbon footprint by cutting down the consumption of energy over the warmer months. If you are like most homeowners, setting the thermostat to not produce heat is considered as a furnace shot down. You are mistaken because that’s only keeping the furnace from producing heat. Whereas shutting off means cutting the power supply and diminishing the pilot flame as well.
SHOULD I TURN OFF THE FURNACE IN SUMMER?
The answer to this question requires probing the condition of your furnace and your utilities. Here are a few things to know before you can make the decision.
- IS THE FURNACE TOO OLD?
If your furnace is old and deteriorating, keeping the pilot on is not a good idea. That’s because the heat produced by the continuously burning pilot can result in furnace damage. The moisture buildup during the humid months can result in serious consequences. Some modern furnaces come with advanced safety features so that a burning pilot is not much of a risk but you can always turn it for your safety.
- IS YOUR GAS COMPANY CHARGING A MINIMUM SERVICE FEE?
For those who are too busy for the hassle of turning the pilot on and off, utility bills are the main concern. And to make sure you are not losing a lot of money on gas bills, check if your gas company is charging a minimum service fee. If they do, keeping the pilot on is not going to make much difference.
- IS THERE A RISK OF PEST INFESTATION?
Well, this might appear to be unrelated but for some homeowners, it is imperative to consider the risk of pest infestation. If the furnace is located in a place where insects can enter and cause havoc, keeping the pilot on can be very helpful. Don’t provide the dark and secluded spots for the pests by a furnace shutdown.
- DO YOU KNOW HOW TO REIGNITE THE PILOT?
Pretty basic yet very important. If you don’t know how to reignite a pilot, shutting it down is not a good idea. Unless you are ready to learn new things!
- DO YOU PLAN ON REGULAR INSPECTION?
As our experts suggest, a yearly furnace inspection can save you from unseen accidents and fire hazards. If you plan to hire a professional for yearly inspection during the spring or summer months, turning the pilot off is better. As the professional has to thoroughly check all parts of the furnace, make the pilot accessible for the inspection. Most of the furnace inspection professionals will eventually turn it off so better save your money by doing it in the first place.
- DO YOU PLAN TO GO ON SUMMER VACATIONS?
If you are planning to leave the house for vacations, turn off the furnace pilot to keep your house safe.
If you want to keep the energy costs down, shutting it off is a great idea with a few exceptions mentioned above.
HOW TO TURN OFF THE FURNACE?
Turning it off is a simple process. Here is what to do.
- FIND THE USERS INSTRUCTIONS MANUAL
Although several furnaces have written instructions written over them to guide the users on how to turn off the pilot, many of them don’t. Find the user’s instructions manual provided by the manufacturer. If that is lost or inaccessible, search it online.
- LOCATE THE PILOT FLAME
Follow the guidelines and locate the flame. The switch may be located away from the pilot but it is highly recommended to find and check the pilot light before you switch it off. This helps you to ensure the flame is off and comes in handy when you are ready to turn it on in the winter season.
- TURN OFF THE KNOB
For most of the furnace models, it is as simple as turning off the switch button. For others, you have to lower down a lever in order to reach the knob.
WHEN TO CALL IN A TEAM OF FURNACE REPAIR PROFESSIONALS?
Being one of the most experienced furnace repair companies, we have seen pretty much all of it. When it comes to furnace handling, homeowners pay a heavy price for any mistakes. It could be a loss in terms of finance or health. The best way to protect yourself is to know when you should not do it on your own and call in a team of professionals. If any of the following is true for you, give us a call. We are ready to help you.
- The knob does not turn easily. Never force it.
- You hear weird smells around your furnace.
- You are unable to locate the pilot light