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When is the best time to turn my furnace on?

The question is and will always remain, is there an ideal time or temperature that should motivate you to turn on your furnace? 

Inside temperature is more important than outside temperature

“The decision to switch on your furnace has more to do with the temperature inside your home than what’s going on outside,” said Tracy Burgess, Service Manager of Carleton Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning in Carleton Place. “Weather outside can affect how warm or how cold you feel while you’re in the house, but switching on your furnace should be based on the actual temperature being maintained inside.” 

While there are many factors that can determine the ideal interior temperature for home occupancy, most opinions suggest that 68 degrees (20 ºC) in the winter and 78 degrees (25.6 ºC) in the summer are optimum temperatures for home comfort. Age, health, the efficiency of your home heating and cooling system and size of your house can also affect the temperature setting of your furnace. That said, turning on your furnace doesn’t mean you set a singular temperature and leave it for the winter. 

“Using a programmable thermostat is the best way to maximize the efficiency of your heating system in the fall and winter months,” said Burgess. “A programmable thermostat allows you to set up a heating schedule for your home. Set it higher or lower depending on the time of day, whether it’s a weekday or weekend or based on activity in the house. Doing so helps control your heating costs by programming different settings as required to be comfortable.” 

What’s involved in turning on my furnace?  

Before you make the switch from air conditioning to firing up the furnace for the next five to six months, it’s important to go through some steps to ensure your equipment is working properly. 

“A simple test you can do is to flip your furnace fan to ‘Auto’ and raise the thermostat setting five or six degrees higher than the room temperature,” suggests Burgess. “The furnace should click on, and you can check to ensure there’s warm air flowing out of your heating vents.” 

Changing your air filter is vitally important when the time comes to switch back to heating your home. A good filter is necessary to filter out airborne pollutants like dust and pet dander, and it should be replaced when the furnace is off. A clogged or heavily contaminated filter can make your furnace work harder and escalate your heating bills. Depending on the type of filter you use in your furnace, consider changing it at least every two to three months. 

So what’s the ideal time of year to turn on your furnace?

The answer to that question is truly determined by your own personal level of comfort while inside the home. Before you do turn it on, it’s good to get an annual furnace check-up from a licensed and well-respected HVAC company. 

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