We are on the verge of the coldest season of the year. Winter in the northern hemisphere means a lot of things.
From splurging on end-of-year shopping to creating memories with friends and family.
But there is one thing you must think about as winter approaches – your home heating.
If your heating system is not functioning as well as it should, you will not only be facing a very uncomfortable winter, but the biting cold presents real health risks.
In fact, throughout the season, your heating system will be the single most important appliance in your home.
Even if your air conditioning seems to work flawlessly during the summer, you have to take another look before the winter just to make sure.
In any case, the challenge of the winter is markedly different from that of the summer.
So, just because the unit held up in the summer does not necessarily mean it will do so in winter. Therefore, pay attention to the following.
1. Perform a Visual and Audio Inspection of the Unit
Are there items lying near or leaning against the furnace? Get rid of them. Ensure there is a clearance of at least 3 feet between the unit and any object near it.
Insurance companies will often note this during their annual inspection and request the objects’ removal.
Once you finish the visual inspection, turn on the heating system and listen. Whereas you may not be an HVAC expert, you most likely know how your unit sounds when it’s running.
Ergo, pay attention to banging, clanging, and any other unusual sounds. That could mean your unit is faulty.
Don’t act on your suspicions, though. Leave the actual investigation and repair to an HVAC professional. Call JAK Services in Irving, TX, to service your furnace.
2. Replace Filter
One of the most common reasons for HVAC failure is the accumulation of dirt in the filtering system.
Dirty filters will make your heating system work harder than it should. It prevents fresh air from flowing through the unit quickly and efficiently.
Check your filter at least once a month. You should replace it every three months or less though you should defer to your owner’s manual.
If you find it difficult to remember when the next replacement is due, mark it on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone if necessary.
Either way, it’s best to replace the filter just before the start of winter.
3. Turn It on a Few Times Before the Cold Sets in
During warmer months, you probably weren’t using your air conditioning and heating that much.
Over time, the inactivity would make it easier for insects and wild animals to crawl into the nooks and crannies of the system.
As they do so, they would bring with them dirt, dust, and debris. That could substantially diminish your unit’s performance.
To ensure you do not run into an unpleasant surprise when you desperately need the system during the winter, turn it on several times a few days and weeks before. Clean out any debris and dirt in the air vents.
4. Inspect the Thermostat
The thermostat is where you find your heating comfort level. If it is not working as it should, you won’t get the heat you need when you need it.
Perhaps the batteries have run their course and need to be replaced. If you have to change the batteries, do so during the fall.
If you are using a smart programmable thermostat, the fall is also the right time to confirm it is programmed correctly and working as expected.
5. Check and Boost Insulation
The better insulated your home is, the more energy-efficient the environment will be for your heating system.
Consider contracting an HVAC professional to check your home for deteriorating insulation so you can replace it where necessary.
While at it, check the weather strips on your windows and doors. The cold that seeps into your home will likely do so through the ground floor windows and doors. So improving insulation should prioritize the ground floor.
6. Schedule an Annual Maintenance
Some heating system problems develop in a matter of days. Others creep up on you over months and years.
Such slowly-emerging issues are usually the most dangerous because you barely notice them.
Hence the need to schedule an annual maintenance visit by an HVAC professional.
For example, if your furnace is powered by oil or natural gas, it will emit some gases during operation.
Monitor these gases to ensure they remain within safe levels.
But furnaces powered by other methods need routine maintenance, too, for clogs, wiring issues, and other mechanical problems.
Ideally, have your maintenance done during the spring, fall, or both. These are the times when your air conditioning and furnace are least required.
Get to Work Early
Did your air conditioning and heating unit work perfectly during the summer?
Apply these tips to ensure it continues to deliver excellent service during the winter too.
There are few things worse than waking up to winter cold and realizing your heating system is not working.