Now that the leaves are changing, along with the weather, it’s a good time to make sure your home’s heating system is working properly. Before the cold temperatures really settle in, take time to do an inspection.
Heating systems are generally easy to maintain. However, no matter what type of furnace you have, there are a few things you can check on your own to make sure it is functioning properly. Check the heat/cold source, the distribution system, and the thermostat. If your system is gas or oil, make sure the fuel is reaching the unit. Check that your blower and distribution center are spreading heat throughout your home, and test your thermostat to be sure it’s working properly.
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Before doing any type of work on your system, make sure all power to the unit is shut off. If a fuse blows or a circuit trips repeatedly when the unit is on, this usually means there is an electrical problem. In this case, you should call in a professional. If you smell gas in your home, leave your home immediately and call the gas company or the fire department to report a gas leak.
Professionals recommend that your home’s heating and air conditioning be inspected once in the spring before temperatures rise and once in the fall before temperatures drop. Not only will an inspection and a tune-up assure you that the unit is in good working condition, but it also will prolong its lifespan and save energy. Without an inspection, your unit can stop working suddenly, leaving your family in the cold.
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Inspections and service can reveal carbon monoxide leaks, energy leaks and other problems that may have occurred while the furnace wasn’t in use. Whether it’s gas or electric, not keeping your system maintained can cause it to run less efficiently and increase your monthly energy bills. The average cost of an inspection is generally $100 to $150; any needed repairs would be an additional charge.
Usually included in a furnace checkup:
- Thermostat settings
- Lubrication of moving parts
- Inspection of drain and other areas
- Checking the system startup and shutdown controls
- Changing the filter
The worst enemy of your heating system is dirt. It can affect all three basic components of your system and cause it to run less efficient and therefore having a clean system is very important. It’s worth the investment to have a professional clean your heating and cooling system.
To keep your system in top condition, have it serviced at least once a year.