With winter weather coming fast, it’s a good time for homeowners to service their home heating systems. Doing so can save money on fuel, and might even prevent a fire.
Johnson Controls – a firm that makes thermostats, among other things – points out that, when it comes to your home heating system, the best surprise is no surprise. The company recommends that homeowners take the time to have their systems serviced before it’s time to crank up the heat.
The firm said that most heating, ventilation and air-conditioning contractors (HVAC) offer preventive maintenance agreements (PMAs). These cover an annual, pre-season visit from a technician, who will test and inspect the system.
During this inspection, the tech will check system functions and safety controls; inspect electrical components and connections; ensure proper airflow and change dirty air filters; inspect pumps, lubricate and check flow rates, where appropriate; and clean and lubricate motors, Johnson Controls said.
Of course, if you’re handy you can do most of these things yourself — but having a pro perform the inspections is the best insurance against performance and safety problems.
According to a statement from Johnson Controls, the checks include:
- Maintaining records of your system’s performance and maintenance.
- Changing or cleaning your furnace filter.
- Clearing debris away from intake and exhaust vents to ensure unobstructed airflow. (They say it’s also a good idea to clear away ice and snow during winter months.)
- Checking the thermostat wire entry point and, if necessary, applying caulk, so a draft won’t influence the thermostat reading.
- Running your system through a full heating cycle to ensure it has plenty of combustion air and chimney draft. Report any unusual sounds.
Remember, a clogged filter can cause your system to use more fuel. It will also put added stress on the system – possibly leading to a malfunction. More seriously, failing to service the system can greatly increase the chances of a fire. So, put this on your list of things to do, before it gets really cold.
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