Preparing your Home Heating System for the Cold Weather
November is here and everyone is finally recovering from the long, hot summer months. To the delight of many, the soaring temperatures of August persisted well into September and unseasonably warm conditions continued through the greater part of October. We’re now beginning to experience cooler temperatures, but it was only a few weeks ago that the majority of the homeowners were still utilizing their air conditioning systems. If you’re anything like them, you’ve probably grown weary of the abnormally warm temperatures and long for the brisk chill of a cool November day. Well, be careful what you wish for because the thermometer can quickly plummet to uncomfortably frigid temperatures. The truth is that winter has a tendency of sneaking up on its unsuspecting victims. As a result, it’s important to take timely action to ensure that your home is a warm, comfortable living environment during what could be a brutally cold winter.
Neglecting your heating system can lead to disastrous results. Don’t let Old Man Winter turn your living room into the Arctic Circle. The cold weather and all the discomfort it brings belongs outside. You deserve to revel in the wondrous benefits of winter: hot cocoa, wood burning in the fireplace and the company of friends and family spending time together in a warm, cozy home. Well, you can guarantee these benefits all winter long by making some smart decisions about your heating system right now.
Here’s a good way to start. If you have an aging heating system that has produced questionable results in the past or even if has performed flawlessly, have it inspected soon. It’s important to take timely action for a variety of reasons. Even if it worked properly during the past heating season, there may be hard-to-detect problems, the result of the wear and tear that the system has experienced over the years. If you’re hesitant to spend money on a heating system evaluation, consider it an investment in your peace of mind. Having a factory-trained HVAC technician perform a system evaluation can lead to more energy efficiency and lower heating bills over the next few years. Maintaining optimum functionality can not only save money on heating costs, but also help you avoid expensive future repairs that could have been prevented when they were minor issues.
It’s important to schedule regular maintenance to guarantee uninterrupted cold-weather operation. In addition to having a seasonal check-up performed by a certified HVAC technician, there are some steps homeowners can take to further increase the efficiency of most heating systems. Change the unit’s air filter at the start of every heating season and check it again every few weeks throughout the winter. In addition, inspect the heat exchanger for holes or cracks and make certain there are no carbon monoxide leaks.
Keep your eyes open for obvious red flags. If your house isn’t being heated evenly you should investigate the matter, and if it’s coupled with humidity problems, your furnace could be malfunctioning.
If however your furnace appears to be on life support it may be unwise to perform frequent major repairs that can end up costing as much as a new high-efficiency heating system. Be pragmatic. Remember, it’s an investment. So think long and hard before spending considerable money on an old system that’s inefficient and unreliable.
In the event your furnace system is beyond repair, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and contact your local HVAC or furnace installation company. They can solve your heating woes well in advance of winter’s frosty temperatures. But, this is why it is vitally important to take preventive measures as opposed to waiting until the last possible moment to take action, or worse, putting it off completely.
Remember, don’t rely solely on your judgment to diagnose heating problems. If you have any doubts, call your local heating professional. Supplement his expert service with your own regular maintenance checks and enjoy a safe, warm home all winter long!
The author, an experienced NJ HVAC professional, is Bobby Ring, president of Meyer & Depew, a regional residential heating and cooling company servicing Northern and Central New Jersey.