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Don’t Ruin Thanksgiving: Prevent Furnace Disasters With This Checklist

Thanksgiving is a big deal. Especially if you’re hosting family and friends.

From cooking and cleaning all day to making sure your guests are entertained and comfortable, you can’t afford any big surprises.

But if your furnace isn’t ready for the big day, your “perfect” holiday gathering never stood a chance. 

So, to make sure your furnace is primed and ready for Thanksgiving dinner, check out our “disaster prevention” checklist...

Check and change the filter

If your furnace filter looks like the filter to the right, replace it.

A very dirty furnace filter can:

  • Shut down the furnace
  • Create uneven heating
  • Worsen your indoor air quality
  • Increase your utility bills
  • Cause the furnace to break down

To avoid any of these situations, make sure you check/replace your filter in the days leading up to Thanksgiving Dinner

Note: The general rule is to check and replace your furnace filter anywhere from 30 to 90 days, depending on the filter type and several other factors. We suggest checking the filter at least every 30 days.

Test the thermostat

Your thermostat is the command center for your furnace. So, if your thermostat fails, you’re not going to get heat until it’s fixed or replaced. Period. 

To prevent your guests from being left out in the cold on Thanksgiving, check that your thermostat:

  • Has fresh batteries (replace if needed)
  • Is sending a timely command to your furnace when you need heat

Try this DIY thermostat signal test:

Have one person stand at the furnace while you raise the set temperature higher than the room temperature. The person at the furnace should hear a click and heat should be delivered through the vents just a few seconds after you’ve raise the set temperature.

Notice any issues? Have a professional inspect the thermostat to see if it can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

Use the furnace fan to clean your home

Your furnace doesn’t just keep you warm, it can help you clean your home as you prepare to host family and friends! 

So how can you use this secret cleaning tool? It’s easy: when you’re vacuuming, turn your furnace fan to ON instead of AUTO.

The ON mode runs your fan constantly instead of just during heating cycles. And that means all the extra dust that your vacuum inevitably kicks up is pulled into the air handler. From there, the dust gets trapped in your filter instead of settling onto furniture or back into the carpet.

To make sure the dust actually gets trapped and removed, we suggest upgrading to at least a MERV 5 filter (the higher the MERV rating, the more airborne particles it can catch).

Want more info on how this trick works? Check out our article, “Cleaning Hack: How to Remove Dust From Your Home Using Your Air Conditioner”

Plan to turn down thermostat on Thanksgiving Day

When it comes to the big day, we suggest you go ahead and turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Don’t worry, we doubt anyone will even notice.


Well, you’re going to be making up for that heat in other ways. Think about it: all day cooking + extra bodies = lots of extra heat.

And you don’t want to leave your Thanksgiving guests sweating and uncomfortable. So, let your furnace (and your wallet) take a break on the big day. We suggest knocking the thermostat down at least 5 degrees but you may find you can knock it down even more as the day progresses.

Check for proper ventilation of combustible gases

According to the ALA, if you have a gas furnace, you should have your flue and surrounding components inspected every year


Well, your furnace flue is responsible for venting away dangerous gases like:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide

So, if there are flue problems, you could potentially be letting all those dangerous gases build up inside your home. If this happens, you guests could suffer from headaches, dizziness, nausea and flu-like symptoms. At worst, they could die.

Look for these signs of poor ventilation:

  • Rusted components on the front of the furnace
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Stains on ceiling around chimney
  • Damp patches on interior walls/”sweating” windows​

See any of these signs? Have a professional inspect your furnace components immediately. We also suggest not using the furnace until a professional confirms it is safe.

Note: Most modern furnaces have “flue gas spill switches” installed. Yes, these switches prevent gas from leaking into your home but they do so by automatically shutting down the furnace. To avoid losing heat, have your flue inspected for gas venting issues.

Another way to protect yourself from dangerous furnace gases is to install carbon monoxide detectors in all the appropriate places, which leads us to our next tip…

Install/check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Worst case scenario: your furnace leaks dangerous gases into your home or overheats and starts a house fire on Thanksgiving Day.

To keep you and your guests safe, make sure you install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house and make sure the batteries have been replaced in the last 3 months.


Final advice? Schedule a furnace tune-up before Thanksgiving

Want peace of mind that your furnace will perform seamlessly when it matters most?

Just schedule your furnace tune-up today. Our techs will inspect and clean the unit to ensure it stays in tip-top shape for Thanksgiving dinner.

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Categories: Heating