Every fall all over the country, people are reaching for the thermostat; it’s the first sign of winter. You get out of bed in the morning, and as soon as your feet hit the cold floor, you crank up the thermostat expecting warm air to follow shortly. Sadly for some all that comes out is a continuous blast of cold air. The furnace has failed to ignite and the blower is making sure there is no combustible gas remaining in the burner chamber.
Many people think that all that is required to prepare for winter is to install new furnace filters. This will indeed reduce the amount of dust being circulated through the house. However it’s not the only item to be considered when preparing your furnace for the heating season.
In many mobile homes the furnace is located in a small area behind a door that seldom gets opened throughout the year. The door usually has louvers to allow air flow as the furnace requires a cold air return to circulate heated air. This small room is a terrific dust collector that requires cleaning at least once a year. A canister vacuum cleaner is ideal for this chore. The front panel of the furnace usually houses the furnace filters. This panel itself also becomes very dirty and requires annual cleaning. The filters are located on the interior side of this panel. They should be replaced at least twice a year. Replacements are very inexpensive many cost less than $1.00 each.
Some furnaces require two filters, some only one. The wise shopper will pick up enough filters to accommodate the midseason filter replacement as sometimes stores sell out of furnace filters shortly after the season begins. By midwinter they are unlikely to order more.
If you have a fuel oil furnace it should have the burning chamber cleaned annually as well. Today’s modern natural gas furnaces burn very cleanly and you can usually go a few years between cleanings of the burning chamber. Propane doesn’t burn as cleanly as natural gas and may need cleaning more often.
Today’s gas furnace uses an igniter element to light the fire. This igniter is very brittle and easily broken. If when starting your furnace for the first time of the season it fails to light ,refer to the owner’s Manual for instructions on how to troubleshoot the igniter. Coleman gas furnaces rely on a blinking warning light located on the electonic circuit board to indicate there’ a problem with the igniter.
It is better to purchase an igniter that is of good quality so that there is no problem with the furnace any longer and you don’t have to run after the New Jersey warm with free heating oil delivery for support as that is pretty old school.
If you have average handyman capabilities changing the igniter is fairly easy. It takes only a few tools and the cost of the igniter should be about $75.00 or less.
When handling the new igniter do not touch the igniter element during installation. As stated earlier it ‘s very fragile and the oil from human hands is enough to cause them to fail in short order. Changing the igniter element as a preventative measure is not necessary. If the furnace ignites properly the first time you try it, you can assume there is nothing wrong with it.
The wise mobile home owner will turn on their furnace and set the thermostat high enough for it to ignite allowing the furnace to run a complete cycle and shut off well before the cold air of winter arrives. If a problem is to be discovered better sooner rather than later when the cold winter air has arrived. The cost of calling a serviceman is much higher during the winter months when maintaining heat in your mobile home is critical.
A little preventative maintenance will go a long way in keeping your mobile home warm and toasty this winter.