With winter around the corner, give your heating system a quick check-up to help make sure your home stays toasty warm when temperatures drop.
1) Make sure the power is turned off.
Always ensure to turn off the power to your heating system before you attempt to inspect it. This will ensure you stay safe while looking to perform maintenance and cleaning duties. Also, give the furnace, hot water pipes, or burners time to cool down before you touch them.1
2) Swap clogged filters for new ones.
If you have a forced-air system, the first item on your checklist is the air filter. Clogged filters can obstruct the flow of air, which makes your heating system work harder to warm up your home. A clean filter also helps keep dust and allergens out of your house, especially when windows and doors are shut tight for the winter months.2
3) Clear vents and radiators properly for even heating.
Heating vents accumulate dust, dirt and pet dander throughout the year, and should be cleaned out to help out the air quality in the house. Ensure that your vents stay clog-free so they allow air to pass through them easily.
Also, be sure to move any clutter from around vents and radiators to help ensure even heating in your home. Blocked heating elements are also a fire hazard, soyou'll help keep your family warm and safe.3
4) Check for even heating.
After you have cleaned your vents and radiators, you should turn on the power to the heating and wait for a bit. Check to see if the radiators heat evenly so you know everything’s working smoothly. Also check the vents around the house to make sure that warm air is flowing properly.4
5) Check for leaks or damages.
Now it’s time to move through the house and in your utility room to check the equipment, pipes, ducts, and vents that deliver heat throughout your home.
Take a good look at the parts of your heating system that you have safe access to, including the furnace, fuel tanks and lines, ductwork, and hot water pipes. Look for red flags like worn or broken parts and signs of water and fuel leaks.5
6) Check for any abnormalities.
After you have performed your check-up, turn on your heating system. Give it time to circulate heat throughout the house and keep an eye out for anything abnormal, like burning smells, loud bangs, the unit cycling on and off, or anything else that does not happen when the system is running normally.6
7) Jot down areas of concern and replace broken parts.
Your heating system, like all other machinery, requires a regular tune-up to ensure it is working efficiently. Be sure to take notes and schedule any fixes right away. Ignoring issues now can lead to bigger, dangerous, and more costly heating problems later.
8) Beware of Carbon Monoxide and Exhaust.
If your carbon monoxide detectors go off, or you smell burning fuel while your heat is running, exit the house immediately and call for help. Heating systems should have an emergency switch that shuts down the entire system, so make sure you know where that switch is located in your own home as well.7