Over the course of the warm west coast summer, your heating system has probably been taking a long rest.
But as the seasons start to change, it’s a good idea to check and make sure your heater is cold weather-ready – before you actually need it.
By preparing in advance, you can ensure that your system is ready to operate both safely and efficiently. Today we will cover how to check your heater and make sure it’s in top working condition this fall.
Make Sure None Of Your Heating Vents Are Blocked
It’s not uncommon for furniture or decor to migrate over your heating vents during the warmer seasons.
But in order for your heater to work at its full capacity this winter, you’ll need to make sure that none of your vents are obstructed.
If your vents are blocked, and the heat can’t flow through your home freely, it’s also possible for your heating system to overheat, break down, or even cause a fire.
Thoroughly Clean Your Heating System
HVAC fire hazards aren’t limited to heating vent obstructions.
Dirt and dust that build up in your system over the warmer months can also pose a fire risk.
Because of this, it’s critical that you take the time to clean your HVAC system before you use it each Fall.
To clean your heating system:
- Cover your heating vents with light cloths or paper towels. This will help contain any dust that you loosen while cleaning.
- Switch your HVAC system on to “fan” mode – this will help move dust and grime out of your vents so you can vacuum it.
- Take a broom, and start tapping any exposed ductwork in your home – this ductwork is likely in your basement. As you tap, you will be able to break up any clumps of dirt and built-up dust in the ducts.
- Take a vacuum cleaner attachment and one by one, remove the registers you’ve covered. Catch any loose flyaway dust with your vacuum, and then reach into the vents and vacuum as far as your hose will allow.
- Finish each vent by wiping off the registers. Replace and repeat until all vents are clean, then turn off your fan.
Replace (And Consider Upgrading) Your Air Filter
Before you kick your furnace on each year, it’s a good idea to replace your air filter.
According to Reddi HVAC, “A good rule of thumb is to change 1-2 inch filters every three months, 4-inch filters every six months and 5-inch filters every 12 months.”
And since you’re taking the time to replace your filter, you might want to consider an upgrade.
Polyester filters, for example, increase your home air quality in the winter and last longer than standard fiberglass filters.
Invest In A New Thermostat
Because weather patterns on the west coast can fluctuate, it makes sense to upgrade to a thermostat that you can program so you don’t have to constantly be adjusting your settings manually.
Modern thermostats give you total control over your HVAC system.
You can keep your home comfortable and even save on your energy costs by installing a programmable thermostat.
Seal Any Potential Leaks
Before things get chilly, you want to check your home for any places where cold air can get in…or warm air can get out.
While this may not seem exactly like heater maintenance, if your HVAC system has to work harder to make up for cold air leaks, it will increase your utility bills and waste precious energy.
Check windows and door jams for areas that need weatherstripping or caulking before the temperatures start to turn.
Ensure All Smoke Alarms And Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are Working
Because fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are more common during the colder months, now is a good time to ensure that your detectors are in working order.
Replace all batteries, and push the test button on each device to make sure they all function as they should.
Never keep smoke or carbon detectors for longer than ten years, and if you aren’t sure of their age, it’s always safer to replace them.
In addition to cleaning and inspecting your HVAC unit, taking the time to check your detectors is another important item on your seasonal checklist.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
While there are many things you can do at home to help get your heater ready for cooler weather, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional tune-up from time to time.
A reputable HVAC technician can make sure your heater is winter-ready and has no issues that may cause it to stop working once the cold weather hits.