Maintaining your home heating system is quite similar to maintaining your vehicle. If you let either go without maintenance for too long, it’s likely that problems will ensue. The best thing you can do for your heating system is ensure that it is prepared for the coldest months of the year long before they actually arrive. These are simple tips for making sure your heating system is winter-ready!
1. Clean and replace your filter.
The filter is responsible for keeping your heating system running efficiently, keeping the air in your home clean, and keeping energy costs down. If the filter is ridden with muck, your home heating system could suffer the consequences. Every three months, check your filter to determine whether or not it needs cleaning or replacing.
2. Check on the blower motor and belt.
Over time, the blower belt inside your HVAC system will likely dry and/or fray. This will eventually affect the efficiency of the system itself. Look over the belt for signs of wear, and give the motor a tiny amount of oil. Be sure to check the system’s manual for information on doing this.
3. Seal the blower doors.
The blower doors are responsible for safely leading dangerous gases outside of your home. Additionally, they help prevent carbon monoxide from building up in the air inside your home. Ensure the blower doors are properly shut and sealed, and install a carbon monoxide detector somewhere in your home.
4. Check your ventilation.
The ventilation system connected to your home heating system is designed to evenly circulate and distribute air. Ventilation problems stem from various causes such as blockages, buildups, and leaks. These types of problems can create astronomically high electric bills. Take some time to examine the vents in your home to ensure that they are operating efficiently.
5. Examine the exhaust flue.
The exhaust flue is also partly responsible for keeping dangerous gases and air contaminants from entering your home. It’s rather easy to check the flue; remove the cap and look through the opening. When you’re finished, make sure the cap is replaced tightly and firmly. Take special note that if your water heater and furnace or located in a closed off area of the home, they need an ample amount of air to run efficiently.
6. Keep flammable items or obstructions away from your water heater and furnace.
While this might seem a bit like common sense, it’s still a very critical step in keeping your home and family safe. In small rooms, objects tend to be closer together, and this can create an even more dangerous situation for your water heater and furnace. Make sure there are no flammable objects within several feet of these appliances.
For those who are inexperienced, ensuring a heating system is ready for winter can be a bit overwhelming. Along with these tips, you should also ensure the heating system is maintained once every few months by a reputable and experienced professional. With confirmation from an expert, you can be sure that your home is ready to take on the coldest months of the year!
7. If your furnace looks like this, time to replace!?
Hot Water heating was the norm about 100 years ago, before air-forced furnaces. Many people still have (and swear by) these old systems. That does not mean you have to live with the original (possibly asbestos-covered) boiler. New, modern boilers are available and will save you money in the long run.
But removal of these ancient behemoths does require specialists, since most of them were encased in a concrete-asbestos mix (for insulation). So don’t tackle this job yourself, call for an expert.
Bonus Tip: Some reputable HVAC companies offer a ‘Maintenance Plan’ (or other name) which includes preferred service, maintenance checkups on your central heating and cooling systems, all for a one-time fee. Since harsh weather conditions can cause mass failures of furnaces, it’s a good idea to be at the ‘head of the line’ for service calls.
F.A.Q. about Home Heating System
Which Home Heating System is best?
This really depends on the type of heating fuel available in your area. If natural gas is available, this is without a doubt the best option at this time. Natural gas costs, per BTU, are far cheaper than electricity. However many rural areas do not have access to gas, so electric furnaces are the next best option. Electric baseboard heating is another option, however by far the least efficient of the 3 systems.
How to clean my home heating system?
If you have a central heating system, such as gas fired or electric furnace, you are will advised to hire a professional HVAC company to come out and clean your furnace on an annual basis, preferably BEFORE the heating season starts.
How does a home heating system work?
In most cases, a central system is used to produce heat (either via a gas flame or an electric coil, similar to a stove) and air is forced across this heat. The air warms up and is blown thru-out your home via air ducts.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Heating in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.
#HeatChat @Energy: Ask Us Your Home Heating Questions
Autumns chill signals that much colder weather is just around the corner and with it, a potential spike in your utility bills due to increased use of home heating systems. Space heating accounts for more than 41 percent of total residential energy consumption and energy upgrades can go a long way to lowering your utility bills and improving comfort. However, an entire home makeover isnt required to save energy and money.