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Safety check, then fire up that furnace

September 23, 2007|From Associated Press

With cooler weather approaching, it's a good idea to inspect your home's heating system to make sure that it's safe and in peak operating condition. Just a couple of hours of preventive maintenance should do the trick.

Start by changing the filters if you didn't put new ones in at the end of last winter. Dirty filters not only make the furnace work harder, they can be a fire hazard as well.

Next, use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the fan compartment and the burner chamber.

If you have a forced-air system, check the tension on the fan belt. It should give about half an inch.

Finally, take a look at the burners to make sure that they are operating efficiently. Black smudges around the inspection door to the burner compartment are a telltale sign that an adjustment is needed.

If this process sounds too complicated to do yourself, many utility companies will carry out this service for you at no charge.

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