Before the Weather Turns Colder, Make Sure Your Heating System is in Good Working Order

The cold weather is coming, and now is the time to make sure your home heating system is in good working order.

The DIY steps in this guide can help you detect potential issues with your furnace before they become a huge problem once the temperature drops.

1. Check the Thermostat
Turn off the air conditioner/cooling setting on your thermostat.

Switch the thermostat setting into the heating mode. Raise the temperature until it reads five degrees warmer than the current room temperature.

Listen for noise that indicates the furnace has started, which should happen within a short time.

No sounds?

The thermostat can be bad, the wiring can be loose, or the blower could need replacement. No matter which issue you encounter, calling in a professional now usually costs less, and they can schedule you faster.

2. Find and Change Air Filters
Each home may have one or several filters that clean the air that blows through your heating system.

Old, dirty filters retard the proper airflow that your furnace needs to run efficiently.

Locate filters behind the grills of air-return vents in the wall or ceiling and the primary filter that sits in the front or side of most HVAC system central units.

Oil-power Furnace Check
If your heating system runs on oil, you need to change the oil filter, clean the burner nozzle, and brush off the heat exchanger.

3. Test the Igniter
Is your home older? You may have to relight the pilot on your furnace manually. If you heard your unit kick in but didn’t feel the heat coming from the vent, your pilot may be out.

Newer heating systems use automatic electronic ignitors. You can push the reset button or check the main breaker if the electronic ignitor isn’t working.

Still no pilot? Call in a professional. DIY troubleshooting by opening up an HVAC unit or messing with wiring can be dangerous.

4. Inspect Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Change the batteries in all carbon monoxide detectors and test the unit. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes many preventable deaths a year.

5. Unblock Vents
Go around your home and check that vents do not have furniture, curtains, carpets, or other items that would block the air from circulating.

Adjust the vent openings until each space feels comfortable. Upper floors may need the vents 3/4 shut to keep the rooms from feeling too hot. Lower levels may require the vents to be fully open.

Preparation = Peace-of-mind
Knowing your heating system will run when you need it most will make your life less stressful. Taking the time to check now, before the cold and snow hit is a smart move so your family can stay cozy, warm, and safe.