Experts are of the opinion that you should get your furnace checked by a professional once a year. This is especially applicable before the onset of the winter months to ensure that your heating system runs smoothly without a hitch.
A professional will check for any underlying safety issues and also perform a maintenance routine. Different heating systems require different areas to be prioritized, so here is a list of areas that you need to check out depending on the type of heating system you own:
Boiler: You should conduct monthly boiler inspections for signs of leakage. A professional will check your wiring, venting system, heat exchanger and ensure the water’s pH levels are in the correct range during an annual inspection.
Heat Pump: An annual inspection of your heat pump is ideal for optimal functioning. If you have an outdoor heat pump, it should be away from shrubs, greenery and falling snow.
Gas Furnace: A professional will check your vent system for any blockages or leaks. All your burners should be igniting properly, plus any drainage systems or hoses should be checked for leaks. You should also replace your filter during this time.
Never turn the heat off completely during the winter. Maintain adequate temperatures and air circulation throughout the house or building. If you are leaving for a prolonged period, make sure a family member or friend can check that all is in working order.
It is very important to regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and check their batteries. This is especially important in the winter, when we keep the windows shut and typically use wood stoves and fireplaces more often. (Make it a habit to change the batteries at the beginning of every season.)
Check the seals around your windows and doors. You can do this by simply running your finger around the seals, or you can use a tool such as a screwdriver to get in behind and check for hidden gaps. If you find any gaps or holes, fill them with caulk. If needed, get a professional in to repair or replace any more difficult or significant issues. The seals around your windows and doors can make all the difference to the temperature of your home, and can, therefore, help you save money on your winter heating bills. Don’t forget to check around vents and places where exterior pipes enter the house which could be causing drafts.
Attic insulation and proper ventilation play an essential role in stopping heat escape and preventing condensation in the attic. Without ventilation, the cold air will condense, accumulate, freeze, and cause attic rain when it thaws. This kind of moisture can damage your insulation, framing, ceiling and promote mould and mildew growth.
Improper ventilation and insulation can also cause ice dams. Ice dams occur when the heat from the home’s interior goes into the attic, then escapes through the roof. It warms up the roof and causes the bottom layer of snow to melt and freeze again. Over the winter, you can end up with a thick sheet of ice hanging off your roof. Ice dams can cause significant damage to your roof and are a safety hazard if they fall.
If you need an insulation upgrade, now is a good time to do that. Most insulation contractors will also inspect your ventilation system to ensure adequate airflow up there. Otherwise, check the insulation around your interior attic hatch. Make sure there are no gaps in insulation to keep that warm air from escaping into the attic.