Before the weather gets too cold, make sure your heater is in good shape. Inspecting your system's components, checking for any signs of trouble, and having your heater professionally serviced will help ensure your heater can keep your home warm all winter long.
Check Air Filter and Ducts
Your home's air ducts are one of the most important components of your heating system. When properly maintained, it will make sure that your home gets plenty of warm and clean air. Before you start using your heater regularly, make sure this part of your system is in good working order.
First, replace your air filter. This should be done whether you also have an air conditioner or not, because your filter can still get dirty over time, which affects your heater's performance. This is one of the easiest parts of regular maintenance to keep up with. It helps to keep spare filters on hand.
Second, inspect your ducts and vents for any signs of wear or damage. There are a few different ways to do this:
- Check in your attic space and look for signs of insulation damage or obvious wear and tear.
- Run the system on fan mode, and listen for any squeaking, rattling, or other loud sounds from the ducts.
- Check for any foul odors coming from the vents, which can indicate either mold or pest infestations, which can be harmful to your health.
Third, if your ducts haven't been inspected in the past three to five years, have a professional come check them out for you. Ducts in need of maintenance can increase your energy bills, so it's worth keeping them in good shape.
Check Batteries and Test Equipment
Depending on your system, you may still have components that run on batteries, such as your thermostat or carbon monoxide detector. As both important parts of your heating system's functionality and your home's safety, they should be double checked before you start running your heater again.
If left alone for too long, batteries inside your components can corrode, which often leaves a white powdery substance around your batteries' connectors. If caught quickly, they can be cleaned but will otherwise need to be replaced.
While you're at it, test your thermostat to make sure it turns on correctly and that your heater turns on and off like it's supposed to.
Service Your Equipment
Regular maintenance can help keep your heating system running for a long time, and the best time to service your system is before winter kicks in.
During servicing, a technician will look at your equipment for any signs of trouble, run electrical tests, clean components, and may recommend the repair or replacement of different parts. For example, moving parts like belts can crack and loosen over time, and flame sensors can get dirty or worn. In both cases, these simple failures could cause your whole furnace to stop working, so it's important to catch them quickly.
Servicing your heater before winter hits is not only convenient, as the lack of high demand will mean quicker response times from your technician for needed heating services, but can save you money in case your system needs any repairs.