Man holding a dirty filter

Simple Tips to Tune Up Your Appliances for Fall

Call a Pro, Keep It Neat, Breathe Clean

It's that time of the year. Kids have gone back to school, nights are getting cooler and days are getting shorter. It won’t be long until we’ll need to shift our homes from the care-free days of summer to prepare for the change of seasons. To help get you ready for this, we’ve put together a list of simple tips to prep your home appliances for fall -- some you can do yourself, others that are best left to the pros.

  1. Schedule a fall furnace tune-up with a professional. While there are plenty of things around the house you can do yourself safely, this isn’t one of them. Call your local heating and cooling contractor to schedule a fall tune-up to make sure your furnace is operating correctly and is ready to carry the heating load once the temperatures drop.
  2. Change your filters. This is akin to putting air in your tires, a simple task that any one of us can do – but how many times does it slip your mind? A dirty air filter will restrict the flow and cause your furnace to work harder, potentially shortening its life. Our recommendation is to automate it. Sign up with FilterEasy (now Second Nature) and you’ll have it delivered to your home. Also, if you have a whole-home humidifier, inspect the pad and change annually. If you followed item No. 1 above, your contractor will already have done these steps and you’d have one less item on your fall home prep list.
  3. Clean out your mechanical room. Go ahead, admit it. Right now the room where your furnace and water heater are located appears to have become the dumping ground for the garage sale you never get around to having. Donate those items and dispose of those that have outlived their value. Pull out your shop vacuum and eliminate the dust bunnies from around your furnace and water heater, which will help keep the air in your home cleaner and help your furnace to operate more efficiently. Keep any paint or solvent cans out of your mechanical room as they are flammable and put off potentially noxious odors.
  4. Clear your drains. You might see that there are several drain hoses coming out of your furnace, designed to remove condensation from inside the main chamber. Inspect these lines to ensure there aren’t any kinks in them, they are clear of any debris and are pointing into your drain to avoid water issues.
  5. Water maintenance. If you have a water softener, when did you last check your salt levels? You should check it every 2-3 months and keep an eye out for bridging, when the salt forms a cap and looks artificially full. And finally, the fall is a great time to perform your annual water heater maintenance. Turn off the cold-water supply and use a short hose to flush the water from your tank into a small pan until it runs clear. Doing this annually will help ensure your water heater operates optimally.

Once you have all these items checked-off, you'll feel better knowing your home is ready and you’ll be comfortable as winter weather arrives. To ready more about indoor air quality, visit