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Preparing Your Furnace for Winter In Michigan

Lennox furnace system installed against a gray wall.

Prepare your furnace for Michigan winters.

Want to make sure the heat kicks on without any trouble this winter? Whether you're in northern Michigan and get seemingly endless snowfall from the lake effect or towards the southern end of the state with lots of days and nights where temperatures drop below freezing, you need reliable and energy-efficient heat. The proper preparation can ensure your home stays nice and cozy—even during the longest blizzard or cold snap.

So, what should you do to make sure your furnace is ready to go for the winter? Preparing your furnace for winter in Michigan means you'll need to:

  • Open and clean air vents
  • Replace dirty air filters
  • Adjust thermostat settings
  • Check for leaks and sounds
  • Schedule a heating tune-up

This blog covers all the steps needed to ensure your furnace is ready and reliable for the cold season.


Want on-demand heat that's energy-efficient and reliable?

Call Thornton & Grooms at (248) 644-7810 for a furnace tune-up that includes comprehensive inspections and testing. Our HVAC experts deliver no-surprise pricing, and if there's a problem with your unit, we can have you up and running within 24 hours. Contact us today to see why we have over seven thousand 5-star reviews!

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Open and Clean Air Vents

White open air vent affixed in a sky blue wall.

Opening and cleaning your air vents prepare your furnace.

Airflow through your system is critical to delivering consistent heat throughout your home. Anything that can slow down moving air or create a barrier makes your furnace work harder and longer to give you the same level of heat. Start preparing your furnace for winter in Michigan by opening up your air vents and cleaning them well.

To clean your air vents, start by removing the covers. Many vent covers use screws to secure them in place, so check the screws to find the right tool to get the covers out of the way.

Once you remove the covers, set them to soak in warm soapy water while you move on to the next step: vacuuming the ducts. Use the vacuum's hose attachment to suck up as much dust and dirt as possible from the area near your vents. Once done, use a microfiber cloth to grab any lingering dust or pollen. You don't need to extend the hose too far into your ducts. The EPA recommends having your furnace inspected before use but notes that professional duct cleaning should only be done as needed.

Ensure the vent covers have soaked for at least 10 minutes. Then, give them a quick scrub. The goal is to remove grease or other particles that may attract dust. With a film-free cover in hand, dry it thoroughly and reattach it.

Replace Dirty Air Filters

Clogged dirty furnace air filter next to a clean, new furnace air filter

It’s vital to replace dirty furnace air filters.

Dirty or clogged filters mean that your HVAC system works overtime to keep you warm or cool.Energy Star recommends changing your filter at least every three months during high-use times, such as winter or summer.

The longer you wait to replace your air filters, the more dust and debris build up until the filter is clogged or stops functioning. Your filter keeps unwanted particles out of your furnace, extending the unit's life and preventing the need for expensive repairs. Fresh air filters and our annual tune-up service can keep your furnace running well for years.

Adjust Thermostat Settings

Programmable thermostat with 73 degrees Fahrenheit on the display and on HEAT mode

Is your thermostat set to AUTO and HEAT?

Your thermostat settings also play a major role in keeping your home cozy without shooting your utility bill through the roof. Keeping your thermostat set too high can overwork your HVAC unit, wearing out parts faster than expected. Too low on the temperature setting, you could walk in on days when your house seems very cold or deal with unpleasant issues like frozen pipes.

Check that the thermostat is set to HEAT instead of COOL. After all, if it is set to COOL and the temperature drops, your HVAC unit will assume it's done its job and turn off. Once set to HEAT, your furnace will kick on whenever the temperature gets too low.

If your furnace doesn't start when you adjust your thermostat settings or you notice a burning smell, you'll want to contact one of our expert HVAC technicians as soon as possible. The faster we handle a problem, the less likely it is to turn into an expensive repair. Often, a technician can fix things can be fixed with a simple thermostat adjustment and a check on the connections.

Check for Leaks and Sounds

Banging, clanging, and other noises might happen when you start your furnace for the first time, but any unexpected noises should stop fairly quickly. Act fast if you notice whining or grinding noises that could indicate a problem with your motor. A worn belt is an easy fix, while a worn motor is much more involved.

Leaks can be another significant problem with a furnace. You'll want to thoroughly inspect the fuel line and your ductwork to ensure there are no areas where things can exit the system. Warm air blowing from your ducts outside of the vents indicates a costly heating bill, while a leak in the fuel line can lead to toxic chemicals in the air. If you think your system might be leaking or notice your energy usage is rising, it's a good idea to schedule an annual furnace tune-up to inspect your system from end to end.

Schedule a Heating Tune-Up

At Thornton & Grooms, our heating tune-up service is designed to give you reliable heat through the winter and a snapshot of the condition of your unit. Some of the services we provide during a tune-up visit include:

  • Examining the thermostat
  • Testing for carbon monoxide leaks
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger
  • Measuring temperature differentials
  • Inspecting furnace controls
  • Checking safety devices
  • Testing for gas leaks
  • Testing the ignition system
  • Inspecting electrical connections
  • Inspecting the breaker
  • Testing volt and amp draw on the motor
  • Testing heat pump operation and cycle

Ready to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter in Michigan? Contact Thornton & Grooms Today.

Thornton & Grooms’ heating technicians moving a Lennox furnace unit from a warehouse.

Thornton & Grooms’ heating technicians can help tune & replace your furnace.

For over 85 years, Thornton & Grooms has prioritized our customers ahead of profits in the Detroit Metro and surrounding areas. With thousands of 5-star Google reviews, you can see our dedication to our customers. We take the time to respond to every review and always guarantee our service with one of the best-in-class options. Our no-surprise pricing and convenient scheduling for our furnace tune-ups help keep you warm all winter long.

Call us at (248) 644-7810, or click below to schedule an efficient service.

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