Winter is upon us. Temperatures are dropping and heating systems are coming on. Here in the northwest we may not have the snow and ice that other areas of the country have but we can have some nasty weather and that damp cold can be miserable. Now is the time to prepare for winter. It is far better to be proactive because as weather worsens, if something goes wrong it is just that much more of a hassle to have to deal with. So, save time, money and frustration and plan now so that your home remains warm, comfortable and safe throughout the winter season.
Your heating system should be right at the top of your list of things to take care of. We strongly recommend if you have not had your system maintained regularly that now is the time to get a Service Tech out there to take a look and make sure everything is working properly and safely. We recommend doing this now as when a cold snap hits, we get numerous “no heat” calls and our Technicians can be backed up for a number of days. Some of what our Tech will do while servicing both the outdoor and indoor units is:
-Inspect the thermostat for proper operation
-Inspect the air filter and change or clean if necessary
-Check all electrical components and controls
-Oil the motors as necessary
-Inspect the heat exchanger for possible cracks (this is important as a crack in the heat exchanger will allow carbon monoxide into your home)
-Check air flow to see if it is diminished and if it is necessary to clean the evaporator coil
Steps that you can take to ensure your heating system is working properly and safely are:
-Make sure anything flammable is clear of the heater especially in the case of baseboard heat.
-Make sure your filter is clean. If it is a fiberglass filter, hold it up to the light. If you see light through it, it is still okay, if not, remove and replace immediately. Restricted air flow reduces efficiency and can damage your system.
-In the case of your water heater, remove sediment from the base. Sediment can greatly reduce the efficiency of the burner and can damage the lining.
If you are having problems with your heating, first take a look at your thermostat and confirm that it has been switched to heat mode. We often get “no heat” calls and this is the problem. If the thermostat is set correctly you may then want to check breakers. If you still do not have heat, call us. We provide 24/7 service at our Roseburg, Springfield and Coquille offices.
When you turn on your heating system after its having been off for several months, it is normal to get a burning smell for a short time. This is from the dust that collects on the heat exchanger. As it burns off there is a distinct and sometimes fairly strong smell but again it should last for a short time. If the smell doesn’t go away or is unusual in any way, immediately shut off the heat and call us.
Once your heat is up and running normally, take a walk around the house and see if there are any cold spots. If there are, adjust dampers and registers as needed to prevent this. If this does not do the trick, there may be inadequacies in your ducting and/or system. We can easily help identify the problems and come up with a solution, just give us a call at one of our three offices.
If you have a ceiling fan, they are not just for use in the summer but are great in the winter too as they help stir the air and push the warm air that rises to the top of the room back down, making the space more comfortable.
The most critical thing is to make sure that you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Make sure and purchase a quality detector. If you already have a carbon monoxide detector, make sure the batteries are fresh and test it regularly. If your Carbon Monoxide detector is ten years or older, we suggest replacing it even if it buzzes when tested. There are some indicators that older detectors fail even when they buzzed when tested. Carbon Monoxide is not something to mess with. It is odorless, cannot be seen and deadly.
Finally, take a look at your chimney and fireplace and make sure they are free of creosote build-up. If there is creosote, make sure and get the chimney cleaned whether by a professional or you can purchase the necessary tools at a hardware stores and do it yourself. While up on the roof, make sure that the spark arrestor that sits on the top of the chimney is in place and in good condition so that no sparks can escape.
If you have any questions or would like to have your heating system inspected, please call us at one of three offices.