What Can You do to Prepare Your Heating System for Winter

Having heating experts available to help care for your furnace can be a great comfort for many homeowners, but there are things you can do on your own to make sure your system performs efficiently when it is needed.

No matter what the temperature is during the fall you should take the time to turn on your furnace to make sure it even starts. If you turned off the pilot light on a gas furnace or gas-fired boiler you will need to carefully relight it. Let the furnace run through at least one cycle before turning it back off. If it doesn’t start now it’s time to call in a furnace technician to help you figure out why.

One of the things most often ignored or forgotten by homeowners are the filters in forced-air systems. When the filter is clean it allows the air to flow through easily and improves the efficiency of your heating unit. A dirty filter will hinder the flow of air, making your furnace work harder to provide the same amount of heat and could possibly allow some of the dust in the air to blow throughout the house.

Air filters should be changed every 30 days at least and more often if the furnace runs more frequent. If your furnace is also part of a whole-house cooling system such as a Carrier heat pump more frequent changes may be needed to ensure efficiency of both units. If there have been activities outside such as nearby construction projects, the filters may have accumulated more dust and dirt than usual. Keeping your filters changed with the proper size filter is probably the best thing you can do for your furnace.

Another project you can take on your own to benefit your Carrier heat pump is to look for air leaks around doors and windows to make sure the furnace doesn’t have to work any harder than it needs to. If you noticed any breezes coming in through windows or doors during the summer you can count on them being there in the winter as well.

Light switches on outside walls, if not properly insulated, can be another source of cold air getting in the home. Pulling of the face plate and filling around the switch box can cut down on the air flow, but if you’re not familiar with the wiring in your home this may be best left for a professional.

The frames around your doors take a pretty good beating with a lot of use and can cause small cracks to appear around the outside door frame. Depending on the style of construction, doors on most homes will need a bead of caulking around the door frame where it meets the house. However, instead of just piling on another layer of caulking over the old stuff, if it is in bad shape take the time to remove all of the old caulking and replace it with a fresh bead. It will not only seal better, it will also look better. You should do the same around all of the windows in your home as well.

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