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Tips for Shutting Down a Furnace for the Season

summer-vacation-dogWhen the last cold days of winter and early spring are in your rear-view mirror you probably won’t need to turn your furnace back on until fall comes again. In fact, we recommend you do either a partial or full shutdown of your furnace system once the weather forecast shows nothing but warm days for a long stretch to come. This is an easy way to lower your energy bills.

Is It Really Necessary to Do This?

It’s not necessary in the sense that your home is in any danger if you don’t do it. However, it’s highly recommended—you won’t lose out on anything and stand to gain.

A gas furnace that’s left on during the summer will continue to consume energy. If you have a furnace that uses a pilot light, the furnace will burn natural gas to keep the pilot light lit all through the summer, which is wasteful. The only advantage of keeping the pilot light on is that you can immediately activate the furnace in case of a cold spell. Not only is such a cold spell unlikely, but if one should happen, it only takes a bit longer for you to activate the pilot light.

The furnace will consume electricity as well. A natural gas furnace relies on numerous electrical components such as sensors, and these will still operate through the season if the furnace isn’t shut down. And, yes, if you have an electric furnace instead of a gas furnace, you’ll also need to shut it down.

On average, you can expect to save around $50 a year in energy costs if you shut down the furnace in summer. It may not sound like much, but it adds up over the lifetime of the heating system, sometimes to $1,000.

There’s another benefit to shutting down the furnace—you won’t have to worry about it turning on and wasting power if somebody fiddles around with the thermostat controls.

To fully shut down your heating system, first find the gas valve that controls channels gas to the furnace. Turn the valve so it shuts off the flow of gas (you’ll see the pilot light go out). Then go to your electrical panel and flip the breaker switch to the furnace so it won’t draw on any electrical power.

The Central AC Exception

Do you have a central air conditioning system housed in the same cabinet as the furnace? If so, then you should shut off the gas line in the furnace but not the electrical power from the circuit breaker panel. This is because the air conditioner and the furnace use the same blower fan to distribute air and also the same temperature sensors. You still need electricity going to the power the AC!

If you have any other questions about furnaces in Shreveport, LA and how to shut down yours for the summer, call our HVAC technicians. This is also a good time to remind you that spring is when you should schedule your air conditioning maintenance to prepare for summer.

Call the Doctor of Home Comfort: Hall’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration serves the Shreveport area.

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