As we enter autumn, homeowners need to make a list of all the things they need to check before winter hits New England. Although you may be looking at your landscaping and other outdoor tasks that need to be done as well, it’s time to look at your home heating system to ensure it is in proper working order and can keep you comfortable throughout the winter.
Without an inspection, it has the potential to severely affect the life of your heating system. You should have your HVAC system inspected twice a year:
- Spring to ensure your AC is working
- Fall to guarantee you don’t lose your heat when the snow flies
In central heating systems, warm air moves through ductwork and heats the home room by room. The air filters job is to keep the air clean so it flows more freely. Making sure they are clean is important to keeping heat flowing through your home. This is especially important for oil heating systems as filters can easily become clogged.
Clogged air filters will push dust and particulates throughout the home. Not only is this unhealthy, it can cause your heating system to be inefficient, increasing your energy bills. The best option is to have the filters replaced, which is relatively inexpensive.
The thermostat in any heating system sends a signal to the furnace or boiler to increase or decrease the production of heat. If your thermostat is not functioning correctly, it cannot communicate to your heating system that it needs to produce more or less heat.
Boiler or furnace
If your home uses forced hot water, you probably have a boiler. If your home has forced hot air, you probably have a furnace. A boiler heats water and pumps it throughout the home into radiators. A furnace heats air and pushes it throughout the home by a motor and a fan.
Although there are many reasons your boiler or furnace could stop working, getting it inspected will determine whether issues can be repaired.
Fuel line and tank
You should have the entire fuel delivery line inspected for rust, leaks and proper assembly. If issues are found, replace the piping. This is the safest and most efficient way of ensuring fuel is properly delivered to your boiler or furnace. You should also have your fuel tank inspected. Oil leaks are disruptive and will be a much bigger you more to fix the issue.
Ventilation and radiation
The purpose of your ventilation and radiation system is to deliver heat to your home. A properly working system will deliver consistent warmth. If you are experiencing inconsistent temperatures, consider having these inspected and repaired.
With forced hot water heating, radiators fill up with water from your boiler and heat the surrounding air. Trapped air in the radiators will prevent the unit from filling up with water.
A clogged ventilation system will trap warm air in the heating system instead of delivering it throughout your home.
In both cases, your system will overcompensate the lack of airflow by using and wasting more fuel.
Air ducts transport warm air throughout the house. Air leaks, dust, and even mold are some problems that can arise in ductwork.
Sometimes the insulation in duct systems will break down or tear. This causes heat to be released inside the walls, attic or crawl spaces and can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills.
Dust and dirt can accumulate on your blower fan blades which can restrict its ability to move air into the HVAC system.
Return inlets assist in the flow of air. If any are obstructed by dirt or furniture, you are running the risk of reducing your supply airflow.
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
Although not officially part of your heating system, you should also be testing your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. An inspection can determine whether your heating system is functioning safely and filtering out any possible harmful toxins. With homes becoming more airtight, the potential for carbon monoxide to build up can happen. And if your system is vented into an existing chimney flue, you could have some leaking into your home.
The purpose of your furnace flue is to ventilate toxic gases. Inspect your chimney to ensure toxic gases aren’t being leaked into your home. Look for damaged flues, unsealed flue vents and any blockage such as squirrel and bird nests or heavy deposits of soot that could cause restrictions of air flow, especially if you have oil heat.
While you may want to do some of this yourself like testing your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, make sure you also include a professional inspection at least once a year. A well-trained HVAC technician has the knowledge to spot potential problems before they occur and can keep your furnace functioning at its peak performance.
Contact us to schedule your heating system inspection.