Winter will be here before you know it, and that means it’s time to get your heating system ready for the colder weather. Regular maintenance of your furnace or heater will guarantee that your family will stay warm and decrease the chances of a costly breakdown.
There are a number of things you can do on your own to help maintain your furnace as well as save you money in the long run.
Change Your Filters Regularly
Your heater’s filter should be checked every month, especially if your air conditioning and furnace are the same unit. A clogged filter restricts the air flow of your unit, and other factors around the home, such as pets, living on a dirt road or in another dusty environment, and high humidity can also contribute to inefficiency.
Some filters can be changed less often, so read the instructions that come with your filter. An HVAC technician can also tell you more about types of furnace filters. Some filters also help to reduce allergens in the environment, which is especially helpful for those suffering from allergies or breathing problems.
You can often stock up on air filters during the off season when they cost a little less.
Clean Out Your Humidifier
If your unit has one, you should clean your humidifier and change the evaporator pad. Your humidifier is important during dry winters because it adds moisture to your home’s air. This means you can save some money by turning down the thermostat a few degrees.
Save a few extra bucks by purchasing your evaporator pads off season.
Spring Clean Furnace Area
If you store things near your furnace during the summer, now is the time to clean up the furnace area and declutter. You’ll want to make a note to remove things that might catch fire with exposure to heat. It’s also an excellent time to check your air ducts for anything that might restrict air flow, including bird or rodent nests. You should also check the ducts for holes or places that may leak warm air.
Your furnace efficiency depends upon proper air flow. Blockages may cause your furnace to work harder to heat, and make it more difficult to bring your home to a comfortable temperature.
Bleed Radiator Valves
If you have an older style hot water radiator, it’s imperative to bleed your valves. If you don’t, trapped air will have no way to escape and this will cause your system to be inefficient. To bleed your valves, open them slightly and then close them when you see water starting to leak through.
Check Your Alarms
This includes your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarm systems. If you have a gas-operated furnace, you should have a carbon monoxide alarm, and everyone should have a smoke detector located near the furnace.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal in the right amounts. Most gas providers now add a scent to the gas, a “rotten egg” smell that is unmistakable. But, a carbon monoxide detector will also alert you if you have this gas leaking in your home.
It’s recommended you change your smoke detector batteries at least twice a year; in the U.S., they often tell you to do so when you change the clocks forward and back. Of course, you could opt to test your smoke detectors each month when you check your furnace filters. No matter when you check them, get into the habit of checking your alarms regularly.
Flush Out Your Water Heater
This isn’t really part of your home heating system, but flushing your hot water heater tank regularly will also help you save some money and prevent an early breakdown. Sediment collects at the bottom of many water heaters, leading to heating element failures.
Change Your Fan Direction
Setting your ceiling fans to the reverse, or clockwise position – where they’ll blow warm air down on you instead of sucking it up into the ceiling, should also be done when you’re getting ready for winter.
If you’d like to learn more about getting your home heating ready for winter, you can click on this link for more information. Get your heating system ready now so you won’t have any surprises once it gets cold!