Seasonal Issues: How to Prepare a Gas Furnace for Winter

With the chill of autumn setting in, now is the time for HOA communities to address one of the most common seasonal issues: making furnaces in common areas ready to provide heat in winter. The maintenance checks a furnace requires depend on its make and model. However, certain measures are common to all gas furnaces. If your community wishes to perform its own maintenance, be sure the maintenance checklist includes the following six measures.
1. Turn Off Equipment and Gas
Before you perform the measures below, turn the furnace off using the wall thermostat, and move the gas valve on the pipe that supplies gas to the equipment to the off position. This will prevent burn injuries and keep the room from filling up with dangerous fumes.
2. Vacuum Debris

Open the front door of the unit — in many cases, the door is a panel that lifts up and away — and vacuum the bottom of the compartment and burner equipment. This will help prevent crucial devices in the unit from becoming dirty and ensure the burners light and burn effectively.
3. Check the Filter
The filter will need to be changed if it wasn’t changed at the end of last winter. The filter usually slides into the unit in a vertical or horizontal position, and may be covered with a slim metal panel that is screwed in place. Consult the owner’s manual to find the location of the filter.

4. Check the Belt

Remove the panel that covers the motor compartment and inspect the belt for frays, cracks, and looseness. A frayed or cracked belt should be replaced. A belt that deflects more than ¾” should be tightened. The owner’s manual should tell you how to tighten the belt and replace it.

5. Oil the Equipment
Unless the furnace has sealed bearings, its bearings will need to be oiled. Open bearings have oiling caps — sometimes referred to as “oil ports” in the owner’s manual  — that are designed to receive oil from a dropper. Consult the owner’s manual about the amount of oil to apply.
6. Make the Equipment Operable
Now the furnace is ready to operate. Replace coverings that were removed to perform the measures above, turn on the unit using the wall thermostat, open the gas value, and relight the pilot light. Instructions for relighting the pilot light can be found in the owner’s manual.
Furnace maintenance is one of the most common seasonal issues HOA communities address. If your community needs assistance with furnace maintenance or other seasonal issues, contact a provider of HOA management and condo management services today.