As shorter days and cooler weather signal the end of summer, it’s time to think about preparing your home for the coming winter. Early autumn is the ideal time to perform preventive maintenance for your heating system. There are several preventive tasks that you can do yourself, but it also never hurts to have an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) professional inspect your system thoroughly. He’ll have the tools and expertise to locate and fix small issues before the escalate into larger problems, and can help you keep your system running safely and efficiently.
DIY preventive maintenance for your heating system
Here are a few do-it-yourself (DIY) steps that you can take:
- Turn on your furnace before the cold weather arrives to make sure it’s running properly. If you hear any unusual noises or notice a lingering odor, contact an HVAC professional for servicing.
- Stock up on filters. You should change your filters every month to six weeks to ensure proper air flow and that your HVAC system is running optimally, and not having to work extra hard to push heated air through clogged filters.
- Check your ducts for proper connections to the vents, and for cracks and other damage. If you need to repair your ducts, use metal tape rather than duct tape, which dries out, cracks and allows the leaks to reemerge.
- Vacuum the area around your furnace, and remove dust and debris on the accessible surfaces.
Preventive maintenance for your heating system that your HVAC contractor should do
Here are the steps that your HVAC contractor should take when he inspects your system during a preventive-maintenance visit:
- Lubricate moving parts to prevent friction, which often causes motors to use more electricity.
- Tighten all electrical connections, and measure the voltage and current on the motor to prevent unsafe operation and to extend your system’s life.
- Check the system’s cycling, to ensure that it’s starting, running and stopping properly.
- Check the gas connections and gas pressure to prevent health problems and fire hazards.
- Check the burner combustion and heat exchanger to ensure safe operation and efficiency. A cracked heat exchanger can result in a carbon-monoxide leak, and could cause your furnace to be red-tagged by your utility company. When that happens, your utility company shuts off power to your furnace, until you either repair or replace it.
Additionally, if you haven’t had your ductwork cleaned for several years, or if you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, it may be time to have your ducts professionally cleaned to remove pet hair, dust and other allergens. Clean ducts can help keep the air in your home clean and fresh.
If you have any questions or need expert advice about preventive maintenance for your heating system, contact the experts at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We’ve proudly served homeowners in the northwest Arkansas area for more than 40 years, and are happy to help you with all of your heating, cooling and home-comfort needs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventive maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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