There are many different types of heaters. There are oil-burning forced-air furnaces, gas systems and radiator systems. Each type of heating system works in a different way with similar effects, but each type of system also needs annual maintenance and regular upkeep. It is unwise to wait until a heating system fails to call a heating company, especially since emergency breakdowns usually mean something is very wrong – and the replacement or repair of whatever fails is not inexpensive. In addition, a heating system issue can be potentially dangerous. Old heating systems that have never been inspected or maintained can issue very dangerous carbon monoxide into the home, especially if the breakdown has been caused by inefficient exhaust mechanisms. You never want to take that chance – just as you don’t want to take the chance of your heater failing in the middle of a night with temperatures below freezing. Investing in annual heater maintenance can save you time, money and a dangerous and inconvenient breakdown, but there are a few things you can do yourself to maintain your heater throughout the year. Before you perform any heating maintenance, turn off the heater and electrical power first.
Penguin Air Heating Maintenance Tips
With the following heating maintenance tips, you are ensuring your heating runs efficiently, which helps to either bring down your maintenance bill or keep it at a steady number. Inefficient heaters can run in such a way that brings up your utility bill during fall and winter months, and you want to avoid those unnecessary charges.
Check for holes in the exhaust flue or pipe
If there are holes in the exhaust flue of your furnace, take note. These holes could mean corrosion and can result of carbon monoxide leakage. Holes in your exhaust flue are a sign you need to call your local heating company to provide repair service. You shouldn’t try to repair these holes unless you know what you are doing, and even then, a professional can tell you if the holes indicate a bigger problem. You also don’t want to simply band aid an issue that indicates something larger.
Change your heating filter
Oil-burning heat systems have oil filters, which stops tiny impurities from clogging the nozzle. This filter needs to be changed at least once a year. You shouldn’t change this too often – it’s not like an air conditioning filter. For furnaces, you want to make sure you install a filter that’s high efficiency. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ranges from 1 to 16. Usually, a home furnace requires anything from a 4 to a 12. A filter with 7-8 MERV is usually move expensive, but a good option because it traps between 80% and 90% of particles. If there is anyone living in your home that has severe allergies, try a MERV 11 or higher filter.
Vacuum floor ducts
When the cool weather arrives, it’s a sign for homeowners to clean out floor registers and vacuum the ducts inside. Ducts inside floor registers are filled with small impurities throughout the year, such as dog hair, food, debris and dust. These impurities reduce heating efficiency. Homeowners can easily remove floor registers and clean the ducts inside.
Small heating fixes to check
If your heater or furnace does stop working and you’re not sure why, it may something simple. Take a look at the below steps to take, and if none of these things work or if the heater is still an issue, give your heating company a call:
- Make sure the thermostat is on
- Check to see if the chimney exhaust flue is clear
- Check if there’s debris around heat pumps or exhaust vents; clean these areas if there is
- Inspect shutoff switches
- Change the heating filter, if need be
- Check to see if the gas is turned on
- Do a furnace reset by turning it off, then turning it back on after five minutes or more
- Blow dust from the pilot
- Inspect the drive belt for impurities, breaks or tearing
Remember, turn off the heater and electrical power before performing maintenance on your heater or furnace, and never do any maintenance if you are not comfortable with the task. The tips above are generally easy, but you don’t want to break anything, you don’t want to be injured, and you don’t want to increase any inefficiency of your heater. It is wise to have a heating professional inspect your heating system during the year, and perform routine maintenance. If you’re in the Phoenix or Austin area and want to learn more about heater maintenance and the benefits of it on both your home and energy bill, call your local heating maintenance company today! Penguin Air, Plumbing & Electrical provides free estimates and are available 24/7!