Cooler autumn temperatures should be a reminder to check your furnace or heating system to ensure that it’s ready for winter’s much colder weather. If you haven’t already done that, the following maintenance checklist can help ensure that your heating system will keep you warm until temperatures increase next year.
The Best Solution
The best solution, of course, is to buy an annual maintenance plan from a local, licensed electrical contractor. That way, you’ll know your heating system is ready for winter and your air conditioner is ready for summer. You can, of course, do some of the work yourself, and properly maintaining the system throughout the year will add years to the life of your heating and cooling system, which will save you money. A professional may also spot small issues before they escalate, which can also save you money.
Essential Heater Maintenance
- Change your air filter monthly or sooner if it needs it. This will add years to the life of your system and it’s an inexpensive precaution.
- Inspect your chimney. This primarily applies to those whose heating systems use the chimney as a vent. Make sure there are no obstructions like a bird’s nest that will block the airflow. Obstructions in a chimney can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, so make sure your chimney is clear.
- Make sure your floor and wall vents and registers are clear and clean. Otherwise, you won’t have a free flow of air and you’ll spend more than necessary on your heating bill.
- Test the operation of your thermostat. If your HVAC system won’t respond to temperature changes in the thermostat, then the thermostat may need replacing. If it doesn’t respond to changes from air conditioning to heating, it may need to be replaced. Check thoroughly so you don’t wake up to an unpleasant surprise on a chilly morning.
- Brush and vacuum the heat exchanger annually, and inspect it for cracks. A cracked heat exchanger can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, so make sure yours is in good shape.
- If your system has a humidifier, remove and clean the reservoir with an antimicrobial cleaner, and remove any mineral deposits that have accumulated. Make sure the drain line is clear, and change the water panel if applicable.
- If you have an older home that has a gas furnace, check the ignitor switch to make sure it works. If it doesn’t and pushing the reset button doesn’t help, then you’ll need to call a professional. This isn’t a DIY project. Working with natural gas is dangerous, so it’s always best to call a professional.
The best time to check the operation of your heater is before you need it, so don’t wait until winter is here to start your heater maintenance. It’s also important to already have a professional electric service that you are comfortable with so when your heater has problems and needs to be repaired, you will already have someone you can trust to fix it.