An Expert Checklist for Switching on Your Heater

Nov 03, 2020

As the nights and early mornings become colder, you may find yourself ready to give your AC unit a break and switch on your heater. However, since it has been dormant for months, your heating system requires care before it can work at its fullest potential. The exact nature of the care your system requires will depend on whether you have a heat pump or a furnace keeping you warm. Here is an overview of what you need to do before switching your heating system on.

Check Electrical Connections and Safety

Your safety is the top priority when it comes to caring for your home. Heat pumps and furnaces both can create electrical trouble and safety concerns when they are not properly configured. Before turning on your system for the colder months, an expert will check your safety controls and your electrical connections to keep you and your home protected.

Calibrate and Check Thermostats

If your thermostat is reading your indoor temperature incorrectly, it will incorrectly adjust your climate accordingly. Before turning on your heating system, an experienced technician will check and calibrate your thermostat. This will help to ensure that your system stays effective and efficient.

Inspect Your Motor, Blower, and Fan

When an issue with one part of your heater goes undetected, it can put stress on your entire system—leading to more extensive and costly repairs. The blower, motor, and fan are all core elements of your heating system. Inspecting them for proper functioning can help a professional detect any issues early, allowing for minimal damage and less costly repairs.

Clean or Replace Your Filter

Your unit’s filter catches harmful debris and prevents its circulation. However, when your filter becomes blocked, it can disrupt airflow and put stress on your heater. Before turning your heating system on for the first time of the season, you need to check your air filter. If you have a reusable filter, make sure it is properly cleaned. For disposable filters, replace them before switching over to heat.

Furnace-Specific Care

If you have a furnace unit, it requires some unique care to keep it protected and working well throughout the colder months. This includes:

  • Check for proper furnace draft: Your furnace draft refers to the warm airflow produced by your furnace. High draft pressure or intensity can use up unnecessary amounts of energy and elevate the levels of carbon monoxide in your air. A proper furnace draft is essential for your unit safety, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • Clean your furnace burners: Much like the burners on your stovetop, the burners on your furnace can acquire residue build-up over time. This puts a barrier between your heating source and your furnace system—making your unit feel less effective. As your furnace works to compensate for this issue, it can raise your energy bills and produce more CO2. This is why your furnace burners must be cleaned once each year during your annual maintenance visit.
  • Check the pilot and igniter: Your furnace pilot and igniter work together to produce heat within your system. Ensuring that these two pieces of equipment are working well will set you up for a warm winter.
  • Replace furnace thermocouple: Your furnace’s thermocouple is a safety device that senses the presence of flames in your furnace and adjusts the gas flow accordingly. As such, faulty thermocouples can be dangerous, which is why it is essential that an expert replaces your thermocouple each year during your annual maintenance visit.

Heat Pump-Specific Care

Heat pumps also require special maintenance and care considerations, including:

  • Check proper refrigerant levels: While it may seem counterintuitive, heat pumps rely heavily on refrigerant because this substance effortlessly shifts between gas and liquid forms, making it easy to transfer heat from one area to another. Heat pumps have coils both inside and outside of your home. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor coil and releases it to the indoor coil. Low refrigerant levels or a refrigerant leak will make your system less efficient and effective.
  • Check the compressor: Your compressor is the heart of your HVAC unit. It pumps the refrigerant throughout your system, allowing it to properly regulate the temperature of your home. As such, compressors can be costly to replace. By checking your compressor, an expert can preserve the lifespan of your unit by helping to detect, repair, and prevent major issues.
  • Inspect and clean coils: Your coils play a key role in the functioning of your heat pump. They can become dirty or disrupted over time, which is why they need to be inspected and cleaned by a professional before turning on your heater.

Heater Repairs and Diagnostics

If your system has any concerns or issues, it is essential that you find and repair them before turning on your heater. If you start the season with a broken heating system, you could create stress on your unit that will worsen these issues. Worse even, some furnace or heat pump issues can result in safety concerns that may leave you vulnerable or impact your peace of mind. Having an expert complete your heater diagnostics and heater repairs early in the season can save you time, money, and trouble as the temperatures continue to drop.

Local Heater Repair and Maintenance | Newcomb and Company

When you are ready to turn on your heater, the professionals at Newcomb and Company are here to help! Our local experts keep your heating system working efficiently and effectively with our Comfort Contract annual maintenance plans. Get your furnace ready for the colder fall and winter weather by scheduling your maintenance appointment with Newcomb and Company today!

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