Did you realize that what happens during the warm months of the year could take a toll on your heater? Probably not… That’s why most people experience major problems when they first turn them on in the fall or winter.
You can do several things to check your heater to make sure it’s in perfect working order before the cold days arrive.
Remember to turn off the heater completely before you begin tinkering with it!
- Change the filter. An often overlooked step, changing the filter can improve your heater’s efficiency by as much as half. Experts recommend changing the filter any time it gets dirty, which will require you to check it every now and then. It might need changing monthly, but you also may get by with 3 months of service from a single filter.
- Clear out anything that is sitting around your heating unit. Items that are located too close to the heater may catch fire. In other cases, they can restrict the flow of air into the heater, causing your heater to perform at a sub-par level. Don’t leave anything near the heater, and certainly not sitting on top of it.
- Clean ducts, valves, or gas lines. Depending on what kind of heater you have – electric, hot-water radiator, or gas heat – you should take care to maintain not only the heater, but the means by which the heat is transported into your home. Flushing out lines or clearing them of dust and debris will increase the heater’s efficiency and reduce the risk of fires or other accidents. If you have a wood heater or gas logs, make sure that the chimney is clear, too.
- Stock up on heating supplies during the summertime. This won’t necessarily get your heater ready, but YOU will be! And you’ll save a lot of money in the process. Propane gas is much cheaper during the summer months. You can also catch deals on filters in the off-season as well. Being prepared is the only way you can be ready for that first unexpected cold morning!
- Turn the heater on and listen to it run for a few minutes. Note any unusual creaking, knocking or grinding sounds. This could indicate that your heater’s parts are low on lubrication. You can either open it up and apply the lubricant yourself or let a professional do it for you.
By far, the best thing you can do is to call a professional heating and air conditioning company to come out and do a full inspection. The minor expense of the inspection could save you a lot down the road, especially if they discover and resolve a potential problem.
During an inspection, a pro will look for leaks and check gas levels. They can even change out filters or clean out ducts, gas lines or valves if you’d like. If you do your own inspections yearly, you can probably get by with having an expert check everything out every other year.