What to Check Before Turning on the Heat

turning the heat on for the first timeAs the temperature drops, you may switch on the heat without a second thought. However, after your heater has sat unused for most of the year, it’s not the best idea to just turn it on and expect it to work right away. In fact, there are a few important things that should be checked before you even turn the heater on for the first time to avoid system malfunctions and costly breakdowns. Here are the things to check before turning on your heat to ensure your home is safe and your furnace is well maintained.

Pre Heat Checklist

1. Change your air filter.

First and foremost, before you even try to turn on your heat, make sure your air filter is new and clean. We’ve talked numerous times in the past about the importance of changing your filters. How often you should change them depends on numerous factors like the type of filter, pets and allergies; however, in general filters should be changed every 1-3 months.  If you are unsure, monitoring your AC filter for a month. If it’s dirty at the end of the month you know you need to change it monthly.

2. Check for obstructions near the unit.

This one is easy to forget as many heaters are located in areas we don’t regularly go into (e.g. the garage or attic) and share space with many other things. Make sure that your heater isn’t surrounded by flammable materials or chemicals to prevent any dangerous situations. The unit should be free from clutter on all sides, so it has ample room to operate properly.

3. Check your supply and return vents.

Go around to each room in your house and make sure they are open. Closed registers, even in unused rooms, don’t save money. In fact, they make your unit less efficient. If there is any dust or debris stuck to the grates, wipe them down or vacuum away the dust.

4. Is there a funny smell?

Once the clean air filter is in place, you’ve checked your furnace’s surroundings and the return and supply vents, you can now turn on your heat. You may notice a funny smell coming from your registers. This is actually burning dust that has settled on the heating components when they were not in use. Opening a few windows will get rid of the odor, or it will go away on its own after a while. If you’re still smelling the burning odor, check your filters and ducts for dust – they may need to be cleaned. If you see any fire or smoke, turn it off right away, extinguish the fire and call 911.

5. Check the current carbon monoxide detector reading.

If your home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, we recommend purchasing and installing one. The alarm on the detector will go off if the reading is above 30. If this happens, turn off your furnace and call a technician right away. Open up the windows and don’t turn the heat on again until a technician has checked the system. You may even want to leave the house all together if the reading is above 30.

6. Is the furnace making strange noises?

If your furnace is making unusual noises or seems to be struggling to operate, it may mean that it needs a tune up. Check the breaker if it is not blowing warm air and make sure the unit is receiving power. Some heating systems rely on electric heat pumps that run a defrost cycle when the temperature goes below 40 degrees. Once the cycle is complete, the heat should turn on again.

Once you have checked #1-3 before turning on your heater for the first time, and followed #4-6, you should have a good idea if your furnace is running correctly or not. All appliances have the potential to be dangerous so take the appropriate steps ahead of time to be safe. A thorough check early in the season will take care of any issues that may be present before it gets too cold out, keeping your family safe and warm.

US Home Filter Carries AC Filters to Fit All HVAC Units

No matter which HVAC system you have, every unit needs a quality filter that fits properly in order to keep your indoor air quality clean and your heat running at its maximum efficiency this Fall and Winter. US Home Filter can supply you with the best and most efficient HVAC filter available! Changing the filter is as important as changing the oil in your car and US Home Filter makes filters that fit all AC/HVAC units. From standard to custom air filters, to whole-house filters, grille filters and humidifier filters, we have all of your filter needs covered!

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