Although we are now well into winter, you may have noticed that a failure to properly tune up your heating system has started to cause problems in your home. Whether you’ve seen an increase in utility costs despite a decrease in home heating, you’re dealing with dust or humidity issues, or your pilot light keeps going out, you may be kicking yourself for foregoing your annual inspection in order to save a few bucks. The unfortunate truth is that you’re likely to end up spending more for untimely repairs when you opt to skip annual maintenance. And unless you want to increase the odds that your heating system will fail during the coldest part of the year, you really need to take the time to clean, inspect, and repair equipment before winter weather hits. So here are just a few steps you can add to your checklist for next fall in order to tune up your home heating system appropriately.
- Clean and inspect your furnace. The place to begin is with a visual inspection and general cleaning of your furnace. Online video tutorials can help you out here, and once you’ve done it a few times you’ll know what to look for. You’ll need to clean out any dust and debris that have collected, as well as conduct a thorough inspection of your unit and possibly any ductwork you can get at in order to ensure that nothing has gone amiss. Without this annual service you can reasonably expect that any build-up and problems are only going to worsen over time until your system breaks down.
- Clean or replace filters. The filter or filters in your HVAC system are designed to collect and trap any dust, allergens, and other debris that get sucked into your system so that they aren’t simply released back into your home or allowed to pollute your system. But over time they lose effectiveness as they become fouled. In some cases you may be able to clean your filters, but eventually you will probably have to replace them in order to keep your system operating efficiently.
- Check connections. Whether you use a gas or electric furnace to heat your home, you need to make sure that all of the connections (hoses, pipes, and so on) are fastened securely. Any loose, cracked, or otherwise damaged connections will need to be fixed prior to use in order to avoid potentially catastrophic failure that could harm your system or lead to accidents.
- Maintain clearance. It is recommended that you keep a minimum of 1½ to 2 feet of clearance on all sides of your furnace and there are two main reasons. For one thing, your unit needs ventilation in order to function properly. But more importantly, it houses heating components that could consist of electrical elements, gas, and fire. Objects piled up around your furnace could therefor become a major fire hazard.
- Hire a pro. There’s a lot you can do on your own, especially with all of the resources available online to help you. Whether you want to know why carrier is a trusted name in HVAC products because you’re seeking new equipment or you’re looking to repair a heat exchanger, you can find the information you need online. However, you may reach a point where the needed repairs are simply beyond your expertise or your willingness to tinker with the system. In this case it’s probably best to let a professional technician take over so that you can preserve your system and continue to enjoy a heated home.