Winter will arrive before you know it — and when it does, you'll either be relaxing in a comfortably warm home or listening to your teeth chatter and wishing you'd had a chat with your heating services provider. Whether you have a dedicated heater or a shared HVAC system, you need to know that you've prepared it to work like a charm through those frigid winter months. Here are three questions you need to ask those heating contractors right now before the season's temperatures get out of hand.
When Should I Schedule My Seasonal Maintenance Inspection?
You always want to schedule heating and cooling system inspections well in advance of the approach of extreme weather. For an HVAC system that has to perform all year round, that means scheduling one inspection in the spring (before summer hits) and another in the fall (before winter has a chance to chill your bones). Keep in mind, however, that every other homeowner in town probably has the same strategy in mind, meaning that you may have trouble booking that inspection. Make a point of pre-scheduling your inspections on an annual basis so that you can "set it and forget it."
What Is That Strange Noise or Smell?
Strange noises coming from your heater could stem from a number of issues. Some of them, such as squealing from an old belt or whistling from a hole in a duct, are more annoying than worrying — but you probably want to eliminate them now instead of putting up with them all winter long. Other sounds call for immediate attention from your technician. Metallic scraping noises, for instance, could come from a loose or broken blower wheel in your furnace, while a loud bang or boom could mean delayed gas ignition (a potentially dangerous problem). Make sure to ask your technician about any strange smells coming from the heater. You might simply be smelling burnt dust after a period of inactivity — or you might be smelling a deadly gas leak.
What DIY Maintenance Practices Do I Need to Follow This Winter?
Some heater maintenance steps are always best left in the hands of professional heating contractors. For instance, you'll want your technician to deal with procedures such as brushing/vacuuming your heat exchanger, lubricating the blower motor bearings, and checking for cracks in hoses or solid components. But you still may benefit from performing periodic maintenance of your own over the course of the winter. Ask your heater technician about DIY practices such as changing dirty air filters, covering your AC condenser, and testing/replacing your carbon monoxide detectors as needed.
Asking the right questions and taking the proper precautions can help you enjoy a safer, more comfortable winter this year — and every year. Call your local heating contractor today to take care of those necessary steps.