Here is the second part for getting your heating unit ready for winter. It is a bit long, but I hope it will help some of you.
There are plenty of steps you can take to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating unit:
- Make sure to change or clean your furnace's filters regularly. Clean filters improve the air flow and efficiency as well as lower your utility bills. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced, while electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly. Filters that become dirty restrict the air flow, reducing efficiency, and in the worst case, lead the heat exchanger to overheat.
- Remove the sediment at the base of your water heater's tank. Collected sediment greatly reduces the efficiency of the burner and can damage the interior lining of the tank when it heats up strongly.
- If you are having trouble with your heating, look first for the most simple and obvious solutions. Make sure that all the access panels are secure with all the screws in place. Make sure your thermostat is set in the heating mode. Simply setting the dial above room temperature will not turn your heat on if the control is set in the air-conditioning mode.
- When you've first turned on your heating system, you want to be sure that everything is running safely. Look out for strange signs and smells which don't quite seem right. However, remember that it is normal for dust to collect on the heat exchanger over the summer, and the first time you turn on the heat the dust will burn off, resulting in a strong, distinct odor. This is normal; simply open your windows to let the odor dissipate more rapidly. The smell should soon go away, but if you are still detecting strange odors from the heater then you should shut if off and consult a professional.
Once you are sure your heater is working, you can make sure that the heat distributes equally around the house. Open all your dampers and registers and turn the heat on in your house for a few hours. Then walk around your house to find which rooms and spots are the coldest. You should then adjust the thermostat so that the colder rooms become equally warm to the others, and adjust the dampers and registers in the hotter rooms to bring them down to the same level. Doing this trick ahead of time will save you a lot of trouble and irritation later on when it gets much colder out, and you have those cold spots in the house while others are way too hot.
- While you may think of ceiling fans as being strictly for the warmer weather, they can benefit your home during the winter as well. Ceiling fans will move around the hot air which gets trapped at the top of the room, lowering heating costs and reducing the condensation which forms at windows and glass doors. If you do not already have ceiling fans in your home, you may consider getting them installed for their year-round benefits.