Now that winter is officially here in Florida, it’s time to consider your heating system. While you may not need to heat your home that often during our mild winters, it’s still a wise idea to ensure the system is in good working order.
Before turning on the heat this winter, even if you’ll only be using the system occasionally, perform a few simple maintenance tasks.
The following steps will help guarantee that your heater works well when you need it.
1. Check for Adequate Clearance
Many heating units are located in attics or garages where items may be temporarily stored without much thought during the summer months. Take a good look around the furnace or heat pump and make sure there isn’t anything obstructing airflow before turning on the heat.
During inspection, it’s also important to remove any potentially combustible items from the vicinity of the heater, such as paper products or chemicals like cleaning fluids.
2. Clean the Unit Exterior
Vacuum the heater and the surrounding area. Use a soft brush attachment and clean up any dust from accessible parts of the heater. In addition, vacuum around the heater so that once you turn the unit on the filter doesn’t absorb stray dirt and dust.
3. Replace or Clean the Air Filter
For optimum efficiency and to preserve the integrity of your HVAC system, make sure that your heater’s filter is free of debris and dust. Dust-free filters will ensure an even, fresh airflow.
If the furnace has a replaceable filter, it’s often best to exchange it with a new one before turning on the heat. Check the size on the current filter or the owner’s manual. If the filter is reusable, remove dust and debris buildup with a vacuum cleaner and then wash the filter out with soap and water. Rinse the filter well and let it dry thoroughly before reinstalling.
4. Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Now is an ideal time to ensure that all carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working properly. If they’re battery operated and it’s been a while since you changed the batteries, do so now. Once you run the heater, if the carbon monoxide detector ever goes off, immediately turn off your heater, open the windows and call an HVAC professional for an assessment.
5. Consider Getting a Preventative Maintenance Check
Many furnace manufacturers recommend getting your heating system checked and serviced once a year. The ideal time to have an HVAC professional inspect your system is before you need to turn it on. During the inspection, your heater will be checked for any leakage and blockage in the venting system. The technician will also ensure that the heater is igniting safely.