Nova Scotia has finally settled into some warm summer days and the sweaters and blankets of winter are now just distant memories and so, most likely, is any thought of your furnace. When the weather warms up we tend to turn the heat down and then forget about it until fall when the temperature drops. But what is the best practice when it comes to your furnace in the summer? Should you turn it off and forget about it or does it require a little more TLC than you thought?
There are both pros and cons to turning off your furnace for the summer, but first things first, does your system even allow you to do so? If your boiler is also used as your hot water heater or your furnace is part of your home cooling system then you don’t have the option to turn off your furnace in the summer as it’s a needed part of another system in your house.
However, if your furnace is a standalone system you may have the option to turn it off. You may think that just turning down your thermostat is enough to turn off your heating system but that may not be true. Older furnaces have a pilot light, originally intended to make it easier to keep your furnace running so that you don’t have to constantly light it every time you want to heat up your home. The pilot light keeps your furnace running even when your thermostat is turned down and is responsible for the inefficiency of older furnaces because it tends to lose heat. Newer furnaces don’t have a pilot light, instead they use electronic ignition to light your furnace so they’re more efficient, but run at a low level even when your thermostat is turned down.
So you have the option to turn off your furnace but should you? The main reason for shutting down your furnace in the summer is to save money. With older furnaces that may be worth it but your best bet is to compare previous summer heating bills to see how much you could save. On the other hand, turning off your furnace does have risks associated for your equipment. A cold furnace is the perfect situation for condensation to build up and condensation means rust which could mean replacing your furnace sooner than you’d like. Even if you manage to control the moisture in your system the other dangers are corrosion from soot buildup or debris like insects and such crawling into the vents and pipes and preventing fuel from getting to the right place when you turn everything back on again. The risks are avoidable however with proper maintenance and cleaning of your unit at the start of the summer and before you turn it back on again. Topping up your fuel tank at the beginning of the summer can keep debris at bay and turning your system on once a month for about five minutes will help combat the moisture that can cause rusting.
Regardless of whether you decide to turn off your heating system this summer a West Nova Fuels and Superline Fuels technician can give your furnace a good cleaning and maintenance check this summer so you’ll be ready to go when fall arrives a few months down the road.