Updating Your HVAC Unit

Three Things To Check On Your Home's Heating System Before The Weather Turns Cold

Most people wait until they need to warm their home before determining their furnace's condition. There seems to be an assumption that everything will be fine when the weather turns cold. However, too often, a homeowner is in for a surprise. Many things can go wrong between the time you last used your heating system, and the first time you need to use it again. The following are a few things you can do before that first cold day arrives.

Check Your Heating System's Air Intake

The first thing you need to do is take a look at your furnace or the heating unit. Many modern heating units will have an air intake. Take a look at any debris around the intake and around the unit. Sweep it away and clear it out. You won't have to do anything technical, simply use a broom to get rid of any leaves, twigs, and trash. You may have to get on your roof, or you can have somebody else do it for you. Also, if you have an indoor unit, such as a furnace in your basement, you want to make sure everything is cleared away from that furnace to prevent a fire.

Check and Replace Your Filter

If you have a combined air conditioning and heating system, there is likely one filter for both that should be changed once a month. However, you may have neglected to change the filter on a regular basis. If you only have a heating system and no air conditioning, there's a chance that you may not have checked your filter since last winter. You will need to replace the filter as soon as possible and before moving on to the next item on this list.

Check Your Thermostat

Set your thermostat to automatic mode, then set the temperature a few degrees higher than the current temperature of the house. It shouldn't take long for the heat to kick on. After it turns on, you need to check there is hot air coming out of the vents. It may take a little time for the air to warm up, so be patient. Listen for any sounds you haven't heard in the past. Sometimes, just sitting there idle during the summer months can cause a problem to develop. An example would be a motor belt that has deteriorated to the point that it needs to be replaced.

These basic checks are important because the first time it gets cold everybody in your city will be turning on their heat for the first time as well. Many homeowners will discover that they have a problem with their heating system. Heating companies will be swamped with phone calls. Service calls to your home will be expensive and delayed. It is better to find a problem now and avoid the stampede for furnace repair.