Winter Is Approaching – Is Your Heating System Up To Date?
Winter is fast approaching, and it’s vital to have a properly working heater.
The time to make sure that your heating system is working properly is autumn, well before the temperatures start to drop so low that you need to turn up the heat to keep things comfortable inside your home. Along with having your home’s HVAC checked out and tuned up by a professional heating and air conditioning repair service, there are some important heater maintenance tasks that homeowners can and should do themselves.
Getting your heating system ready for winter is about more than just comfort, although a properly maintained heater will do a better job of keeping your home warm in the colder months. Keeping your heater is working properly means lower heating bills as well as eliminating the hazards which can result from a home heating and cooling system which is in poor condition. You also won’t find yourself with a broken down heater in the dead of winter – and a small fortune in repair bills.
A Winter Heating System Maintenance Checklist
Before you even look at your heater, check windows and doors for leaks and cracks; even the most efficient heater will have to work harder than necessary if your home isn’t keeping warm air inside.
Next, check your air filters. There’s no need to call out a heating and air conditioning repair technician to handle this. Dirty air filters can greatly reduce the efficiency of your home’s heating system as well as lead to breakdowns. Check your filters every couple of weeks and replace as needed – you may be surprised by how quickly they become clogged with dust and other airborne debris.
Check your thermostat. Thermostats wear out more quickly than you might think and can quickly lose accuracy, at least if you have an older analog thermostat. Test your heating or cooling system and check to see how closely the thermostat reflects the actual temperature in your home. You can do this by placing a standard thermometer next to your thermostat. If the thermometer and thermostat have different temperature readings after 15 minutes, then you may need to replace your thermostat with a newer, more accurate digital model.
Before attempting the following maintenance tasks, turn off power to your furnace:
If you’re able to access your heater’s fan blades, clean them.
An older heating system may need lubrication; if you can reach them, your furnace’s motor and blower shafts may need a drop of oil or two annually.
Check the belt on your furnace blower, if applicable. If it’s misaligned, you can loosen the screws which hold it in place, realign it (use a carpenter’s square for this to make sure that it’s properly aligned) and then tighten the screws again.
Most homeowners don’t have the training or specialized tools to do everything themselves when it comes to their home heating system, but there are a lot of routine heating and cooling maintenance jobs that you can do without the help of a heating and air conditioning repair service.