It may seem normal not to think about your heater until temperatures drop, but it can be problematic. Testing your home heating system before the deep chill of winter sets in will give you more time to fix any issues, likely save you money on repairs and keep you from becoming an ice block while you wait for the repairman. Stay warm this winter with these heater maintenance tips.
There are several things you can check for if your heater doesn’t start. If you use a gas heating system, make sure the pilot light is lit. If you have a furnace, ensure that the blower switch is turned on. The blower switch looks like a typical light switch near the furnace, and may have been left off during your last maintenance call. It’s possible that the problem is a tripped circuit breaker. Check the breaker box in your utility room, garage or on your home’s exterior.
Keep your heater running at peak efficiency to help lower your energy bill. Be sure you replace or clean your air filters monthly. Warm air registers, which direct heated air into the home and are usually located low on the walls, can sometimes be blocked by carpeting, furniture or drapes. Check to make sure the air flow is unrestricted and that the registers are clean. Remember to turn off exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you finish cooking or bathing. You can also let the sun help warm things up during the day by keeping your drapes, curtains and shades open on south-facing windows. Don’t forget to close them at night to avoid window chill.
According to Energy.gov, heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, responsible for about 45 percent of your utility bills. Here are a few things you can do to use less energy during the winter months: Keep your programmable thermostat set as low as possible. Lower the set point when you’re sleeping or away from home. Consider wearing long sleeves, socks and shoes to stay comfortable in your home without overusing your heating system. The higher you set your thermostat, the longer it will take – and more energy it will use – to get there.
Test your heating system now, before it gets cold, and keep everything warm and cozy all winter long.