The Importance of Pre-Season Maintenance on Your Heating System
Have your heating system checked out before the winter season arrives. Pre-season preventive maintenance is the best way to keep your heating system in optimum operating condition. It allows you to make inexpensive minor repairs before they become major expenses. It could also save your life because it reduces the odds that your heating system has a catastrophic failure in the middle of a winter storm when you could be risking going without heat for an extended time. It can also detect deadly carbon monoxide leaks.
A Few Benefits of Fall Maintenance
Avoiding a major breakdown in mid-winter is a primary reason to do fall maintenance on your heating system. Not only do you risk having no heat when you need it most, but weather conditions and other emergencies may interfere with an HVAC contractor getting to you quickly. In severe weather, you run the risk of frozen pipes and life-threatening conditions for your family.
Reduce these risks by scheduling fall maintenance on your heating system soon. If a technician has not looked at your heating system in over one year, it is time to call for maintenance. Fall preventive maintenance has many other benefits, too. They include:
- Fall maintenance can lower your operating costs. Think of preventive maintenance like a tune-up for your car. Your HVAC system may seem to be operating well, but over time it loses its efficiency. A tune-up will help it function efficiently and as inexpensively as possible.
- Regular fall maintenance can prolong the life of your entire system. As is the case with any mechanical equipment, neglecting small repairs can eventually lead to a serious breakdown– one that was entirely avoidable with regular maintenance. Winters wreak havoc on your outdoor components through freezing, thawing, and refreezing, and from heavy ice falling on to them. A professional HVAC technician can make sure any damage from last winter does not turn into a major problem for you this coming winter.
- Reduce the dangers of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. When your heating system develops short circuits or cracks in the heat exchanger, turning on the heater is dangerous. These conditions likely can be identified and repaired during your fall maintenance.
Regular maintenance through a service contract is not an absolute guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but is the single best way to identify and resolve problems before they become significant expenses. Moreover, if a repair is needed in the middle of winter, you will get priority service at reduced rates.
7 Sure Signs Your Heating System Needs Service
How can you tell if your heating system needs service? It will show some telltale signs. Here are some things to look for:
1. Lack of warm air from the heater. Suddenly, the heater is blowing cool air and not keeping the house warm. This is an obvious sign that something is wrong. The problem could be a faulty thermostat, or it could be a more serious problem.
2. Higher than usual utility bills. If you notice an increase in your energy bills without a comparable change in the outdoor temperature, do not ignore it. Higher bills are often a sign that your heating system is straining to keep up with the demands on it. It could need a relatively minor repair. If you ignore it, you could find yourself in need of a new system.
3. Short-cycling or running constantly. Short-cycling is when your heating systems goes on and off for short periods. It may be a sign that your heat exchanger is overheating and causing the system to shut down. Short cycling can be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your system. On the other hand, if your heating unit runs without going off for long periods of time, service is warranted. Call your HVAC contractor for a service appointment.
4. House is cold. Your heater may be running all the time, but you still feel cold. This could be a sign that your furnace is worn out. This needs a professional technician to diagnose and recommend the best solutions.
5. Unusual noises. If your system is making strange noises, you should turn it off and contact an experienced HVAC contractor for service. A screeching sound can mean the blower has worn out, while banging or grinding sounds can mean the unit has broken internal components, but in all cases the heater needs repairs or replacement.
6. Age. A system over 15 years old that is experiencing these signs probably needs to be replaced. The average life span is 15 to 20 years. The cost of a significant repair to an older system may not be cost-effective when a new one will operate more efficiently and less expensively.
7. Unusual amounts of dust. Your furnace has an air filter that removes airborne particles, such as dust mites, pet hair, and similar substances. When the filter is dirty, it can no longer capture dust, and those particles instead circulate throughout your home. The air filters need to be changed.
During cold months, humidity in the air is usually much lower than in the summer. Low humidity means your heating system will have to work harder as it must heat the drier air. To help keep it at optimal operating efficiency, make sure that your air filters are clear. Replace them every 30 days to ensure smooth operation throughout the winter. Changing the filters on your heater improves indoor air quality and helps the heating unit function properly. If the filter is not changed for a long time, the damage to the heater could be beyond repair.
Contact a Professional HVAC Contractor to Schedule Service
Now that you understand why fall maintenance is important to you and your family, you should make it a priority. If you have not had your heating system serviced in more than one year, you need to make sure you do it this year. Call a reputable HVAC contractor soon to schedule an appointment.