Technical Talk: Inspect Your Heater Before You Turn It On

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Is your home ready for the cooler months ahead? Before you swap out summer clothes for sweaters and outerwear, ensure your home is comfortable and safe with a pre-season inspection before turning on furnace for the first time this year.

All Systems Are NOT Go

Before turning your heating unit on, a pre-season inspection is necessary to ensure safe, proper operation. This bit of simple, preventive maintenance keeps your family safe, guards against inefficient operation and wasted energy, and most importantly reduces the likelihood of unexpected and costly repairs on winter’s coldest days.

How to Perform a Pre-Season Heater Inspection

  • Clear the way.
    Remove any objects blocking airflow around your furnace, vents, and registers, storing flammable items in a room away from the furnace. Clean accessible areas with a vacuum and brush attachment. Then go outside and ensure venting and chimneys are clear, checking for bird and insect nests or other debris that could create a dangerous situation.
  • Replace the air filter.
    Toss last season’s throw-away for a new one, or clean the permanent filter, allowing it to thoroughly dry before turning on the heater.
  • Test/install safety detectors.
    Replace the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, making sure they are all working properly.
  • Take a test run.
    It’s always a good idea to test your heater before the bitterly cold nights set-in.
  • Call a pro.
    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you have your heating system serviced annually. Professional inspection can identify a cracked heat exchanger or combustion chamber, which is typically invisible to the naked eye as well as other vent blockages that could lead to carbon monoxide leaks inside the home. . A professional inspection can also identify expensive duct leaks that decrease comfort levels and thermostat and other operational issues effecting system performance.

Turning Heat On - Smells Like Burning?

If you notice some odd smells when you first run your heater, there are an array of possible causes. If you’ve changed your filter, you can rule this out. However there may be dust on other system components like the air ducts and heat exchanger that will burn off with initial seasonal operation – typically within 30 minutes. Foul odors, however, should not be ignored, as they could indicate something major. A smoky odor could likewise indicate a vent/chimney blockage, and a potentially dangerous carbon monoxide situation. If the problem persists and you’ve changed your air filter, contact a professional for service and maintenance immediately.

Schedule seasonal maintenance for your heater before the ‘winter rush’ sets in. Contact Aire Serv® today.