The last thing you want is for your heating system to quit working on you when the cold weather hits! While it doesn’t need your full attention during the hot months, there are at least some simple upgrades and improvements you can make to your heating system now to ensure it does work when it comes time to use it.
If you’re thinking you’re good to go because you regularly change your filter on your furnace, you are partially correct. Regular filter changes do improve the performance of your heating and cooling unit, but there are a few other areas that need preventative maintenance as well.
Low-cost upgrades and modifications are effective forms of preventative maintenance that will keep your system running properly, as well as give you long-term energy savings.
Below are a few simple steps you can do to make sure you’re not shivering in a cold home while you wait for an HVAC technician to make an expensive afterhours call to your home over the weekend.
Take these steps now to keep you ahead of the game when it comes time to use your home heating system.
1. Programmable Thermostat
Switch out your manual thermostat for a programmable one. This lets you set your heating system to a specific temperature you want in your home while you are away and while you are at home. Changing it to a lower temp while you’re out of your home can help to save you money on your heating bill each month.
You can even program the thermostat to turn increase the temp in your home before you get there. For example, if you know you will be home around 5:00 one evening, you could program the thermostat to kick up the heat a bit around 4:00 or 4:30, that way when you get there your home is already nice and warm for you.
A programmable thermostat is fairly easy to install, even if you aren’t "tech savvy". Some thermostats are designed to even learn your daily heating habits, and program themselves. They are designed to memorize your temperature patterns, and automatically adjust to those heating patterns through the day and night.
If you would prefer to control the heat yourself, that is always an option available to you. You can even adjust the temperature in your home remotely from your smartphone or computer, with the right thermostat. If these additional features sound like something you would be interested in having, just make sure that thermostat has these features available before you purchase it.
2. Schedule a Professional Heating System Tune-Up
Scheduling an annual tune-up for your home heating system with a Canberra based company will help you to prevent any unwanted mishaps come winter season. Their full-service inspection of your unit will help to make sure it runs efficiently, effectively, and that all the working components of the unit function as they should.
You don’t want to make the mistake of ignoring the unit until it’s time to use it. The boiler (or furnace) needs to be serviced periodically by a professional to keep it running smoothly and keep the system clean.
3. Bleed Your Radiator
Your home will either have a forced-air system, or a radiator. If you have hot water radiators, you’re probable familiar with the term "bleeding the radiator". This simple means that at the beginning of the heating season, you will need to let air out of the radiator before using it to heat your home. You’ll need to start the boiler and let the system heat up.
Make sure the circulator pump (the motor attached to pipes near the boiler) is running. Then open the valve that is on each side of the radiator. Air will come out of the open valves, and soon after that water will come out. The water coming out is a sign that all the air is out of the system. You’ll need to have a container close by to catch the water when it does come out. Once the water begins to come out, you’ll can then close the valves.
4. Keep the Air Circulate the Air in Your Home
Don’t forget about your ceiling fans during the cooler months. Keeping them running on at least a low setting will help to circulate the heat in the rooms of your home. There should be a small switch on the base of the fan. This switch will reverse the fans direction, causing it to blow air upward instead of downward.
The upward air will keep the warm air in your home circulating, instead of cooling it back down. The warm air that has risen to the ceiling will be forced back down towards you, keeping you and the interior of your home warm. It also increases your energy savings, which is always a pleasant bonus.
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5. Keep the Clutter Down
As the months go by, it’s easy to fill the basement with clutter, toys, laundry, boxes, sporting equipment, and just about anything else that we want to keep "out of sight / out of mind". The thing you don’t want to do is pile all that clutter around the furnace or the flue pipe. Your furnace needs to be free from any obstructions that would block or hinder the air flow. It needs to be able to draw in air, as well as exhaust it safely and effectively.
Failure to take this precaution could result in damage to the system and it’s mechanical components, an increased energy bill, and could even result in a fire if the unit ended up with a mechanical misfire due to the blockage. Which brings up another good point, you’ll need to make sure there aren’t any flammable items left by or around the furnace. Take the time to keep the area around it clear from anything that can cause damage that could have otherwise been prevented.
other valuable readings:
Image Credit: Pixabay
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