Winter is officially here, even in the warmer areas of the country - like southern and central Texas. This means the furnace is kicking on at night, and even during the day, as the temperatures dip. With a few months of cooler weather ahead, is your heating system ready for regular use, without leaving you out in the cold and in need of emergency heating services? To make sure, and avoid calls for heating repair by a home heating company, following is a checklist to help prevent problems.

Replace Furnace Filters Regularly

A homeowner should locate where the filters go in their furnace, and replace them every four to six weeks when the furnace is in regular use. A clean filter allows the furnace to work more efficiently, and also prevents more dust and dirt from being circulated throughout the house. Updating to a HEPA filter is even better. Heating repair and services experts assert that these filters provide even greater efficiency and cleaner air, as long as they are changed regularly.

Clean and Inspect Airways

Another way to help increase furnace efficiency so the unit has to work less to keep a home warm, is to open and inspect all air vents and ductwork and clean them. Vacuum inside the vents in all the rooms, and check for obstructions. If this has not been done for some time, hiring a professional home heating company to come in and clean out the heat ductwork is recommended. Dust and dirt can build up after a while, increasing airborne dust in the home. It can also obstruct the flow of warm air throughout the home, making the furnace work harder.

Inspect Blower Belt

The rubber belt running the blower that pumps the warm air throughout the house can stretch and crack over time, making it susceptible to breakage. To prevent this from happening, turn off the furnace at the circuit breaker, remove the cover over the blower part of the furnace and check the belt for any signs of excessive wear or damage. Replace the belt, if necessary, to keep the furnace blowing warm air where it needs to go.

Check Exhaust Flue

Periodically check the exhaust flue to ensure it is in good condition, and that there are no obstructions, or the flue is not blocked, or damaged in any other way that could cause it to leak. A blocked flue allows poisonous carbon monoxide gas to back up in the furnace, and throughout the home. It also causes the furnace to run less efficiently. A flue can also leak by allowing water to get into the furnace. This can damage and corrode the flue, which then allows it to leak carbon monoxide into the home, which can cause extreme illness, and in some cases - even death. Fixing this problem may require the services of an experienced heating repair company.

Check and Set Thermostat

Check the thermostat to make sure that it properly turns the furnace on and off. Then, program it to run the heat as efficiently as possible to reduce energy costs, and reduce wear and tear on the furnace. Setting the thermostat lower in the middle of the night, and while people are not at home, is recommended.

Clean and Inspect Furnace and Surroundings

While changing furnace filters, expert heating services techs recommend that any dirt or dust be vacuumed out of the furnace cabinet. This can prevent buildup, and alleviate a dangerous situation. Always keep the area around the outside of the furnace clean, and clear from clutter, as well.

Although problems with furnaces can happen, the best way to prevent them is with good home maintenance, and making sure the system is ready for regular use once the temperature drops. These simple heating services tips can make the difference between a cozy home, and a strained furnace that requires heating repair by a home heating company. Following this advice also helps promote furnace efficiency. Take good care of your furnace, and it will take good care of you!

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