what to to with the furnace in the summer

Once the warmer weather arrives you no longer need your furnace and, in California especially, your furnace will enjoy a long vacation. While you’re not using it, should you turn it off? The short answer is yes. We’ll tell you why and how to safely turn your furnace off.

The Benefits of Turning Your Furnace off in Summer

No matter what you do, your furnace won’t generate heat over the summer. Though they won’t be working, gas furnaces will keep their pilot light running. This small flame allows the furnace to ignite when it needs to start working.

The pilot light does consume a small amount of gas even when the furnace is not working. That’s a tiny amount of gas, and a tiny amount of money. Is it worth troubling yourself over? Put it this way, if someone paid you fifty dollars to turn off your furnace, would you? That’s likely what you’ll save if you do.

Besides, turning the pilot off has a small safety benefit, in that there’s no way for a gas leak or a fire to start from the furnace when the valve is shut. This is a minor benefit, but if you have a history of gas leaks, or kids running around the basement who might knock into the furnace, that extra bit of peace of mind may be valuable to you. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector for the same purpose, of course.

Some homeowners decide that turning off their furnace isn’t worth the hassle of figuring out how to do it. Don’t fret, it’s not too complicated. Let us explain how to turn off your furnace:

How to Turn Off Your Furnace in the Summer

Turning off your gas furnace is simple, follow these steps:

Step One: Check Your Thermostat

It’s important to make sure that your thermostat is already switched over to “cool” instead of “heat” so that the furnace isn’t firing when you try to turn the gas valve. If it’s not quite warm enough for that yet, leave the furnace until it is.

Step Two: Find and Close the Valve

First be sure you can see the pilot light, so you’ll be able to check that it really is turned off. Then, you need to locate the gas valve. It is usually near the base of the furnace, nearby the pilot light.

The valve should be in the full open position, parallel to the gas line. Simply turn it as far as you can. It should now be perpendicular to the line. Check the pilot light to be sure it has extinguished.

Step Three: Set a Reminder for Fall

The only downside of turning off your gas furnace for the summer is that you’ll have to light it again in the fall. So, take the time now to set a reminder in your phone or on your calendar to turn the pilot light back on in the fall.

Now is also a good time to schedule summer furnace maintenance, while the system is not in use. Regular maintenance can keep your furnace running longer, and save you money—just like turning it off.