Tips for Keeping Your Heating System Healthy and Happy
Many homeowners do not spend much time thinking about their heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. That is really unfortunate because at least three quarters of calls for furnace repairs due to homeowners not having heat are caused by the lack of preventative maintenance. To keep your heating system working all winter, you need to take care of some regular and routine maintenance. Here are some things you can do to make sure your heating system works well all winter.
Take care of your thermostat.
- Regardless of what kind of HVAC system you have, the place to start is at the thermostat. Before either the hot or the cold season starts, you would be well served by testing your thermostat. Before the weather turns cold, turn it on so that your furnace is engaged. Leave it on for a few minutes so that you can be confident that your system is working.
- You will know you have an issue when and if your heating system turns on but then shuts back off within just a few minutes. There are two things that can cause this; the thermostat needs to reset or replaced or your furnace’s heat exchanger is overheating. When your system shuts on and then off, it is called “short cycling.” When this happens, it is a clear sign that you need a residential HVAC professional to come in and check your heating system.
- Another problem you can experience with your thermostat is that the system just does not do anything. If you experience this, check the pilot light on your furnace. You can relight it if the flame has gone out. If it is still going but is yellow or you notice flickering, you need to call a furnace repair specialist to work on your fuel/air mix. The light should always be solidly blue.
How to maintain forced air heating systems:
- Make sure the airways are clear. It does not matter how your heating system is powered, the airways need to be clear for the system to work efficiently and effectively.
- Keep an eye on the air filters. During the colder months, you should make it a point to check your air filters once every 30 days. When the filter looks dirty or clogged, you need to change it. It costs a lot less to change your filter than get a new HVAC system.
- Bring someone in to check your ductwork every year. They will look for rust, dirt/dust buildup, mold and open joints. Every three years, you should have all of this cleaned by a professional. If people in your home suffer from asthma or allergies, you may need to have this done more often. Also, if you have animals, you may need to have your ductwork cleaned more frequently. They should also worj on the blower at the same time.
How to maintain hydronic heating systems:
- Look for any leaks. Turn up the temperature of your thermostat. Once the heating system is running, check the boiler and the pipes around it to see if there is any water leaking out of the system. If you find any, you need to call in a professional HVAC contractor.
- Check the pressure and temperature of the system. The contractor will ask you to run the heating system for about an hour. That is when the pressure and temperature should be looked at. Refer to the specifications from your manufacturer.
- Lubricate the circulating pump. You should have some three in one oil to put in the lubrication cups.
- The boiler’s combustion chamber needs to be cleaned. If you have a plan with an HVAC contractor, they will clean it. You can also use a wire brush and vacuum.
- Have the heating system flushed. This is not something you can do yourself, you should bring a professional in to do this to your system once every five years or so.
- Get the air out of your system. Again, this should be done by the HVAC contractor. They will open the bleeder valve to get the air out of your system.
Keeping you heating system healthy and happy all winter is important to keeping your home comfortable. Following these maintenance tips will help keep your system working for you and your family.