The cold and rainy weather is now returning, and for most of us, it may stay this way right through to spring. At this time of year, our thoughts turn to staying warm, and indoor comfort is a priority. Many of us expect our home heating systems to work on demand to keep us warm when it’s cold outside. It’s fair to say that most people take their heating systems for granted and when they don’t work as intended it comes as a surprise. In fact, it’s extremely important to get your heating system maintained annually.
Taking a Heating System for Granted
Some people don’t have any maintenance carried out on their heating system at all. This is not recommended; a poorly maintained system is far more likely to fail, and the repair bill could be expensive. When a heating system fails, it always seems to happen at the worst possible time when the weather is at its coldest. At these times HVAC professionals are often busy repairing heating systems for other people as well. So, it could be difficult to get the heating repaired, and you could be without heat for a while. This is not an ideal situation, and it can be easily avoided with a simple low cost annual checkup.
The Importance of Heating Maintenance
The best argument or comparison for heating maintenance is to compare it to annual car maintenance. Both are complex pieces of equipment with a mixture of electrical, electronic and mechanical parts. Every part needs to work well together so that the system can operate as the manufacturer intended. A heating system in an average home will incur work to an equivalent amount of approximately 175,000 miles on your car. Would anyone want to drive their car for 175,000 miles without any kind of professional checkup? Imagine the wear and tear on critical systems, such as tire pressures, battery levels, loose connections and oil levels. Now imagine putting a heating system under that strain, then turning it off for months and then expecting to do it all again year after year, without any maintenance.
How Annual Maintenance Will Help
There are many benefits to annual heating maintenance, and they can be broken down into the following five broad groups.
- Ensuring Consistent and Reliable Performance
The last thing that you need is for your heating system to fail when you really need it most. Being stuck with no heating on the coldest days is a miserable experience that should be avoided at all costs. Regular heating maintenance will help to identify any minor issues that need to be repaired before they develop into larger problems. These early repairs are often easier to fix and cheaper to correct compared to the problems that have been left to get worse over time. The old adage “prevention is better than the cure” certainly applies here, and the chances of a system failure are significantly lower if your heating system is well maintained. Of course, we offer a 24 hour repair service, but we cannot guarantee our availability, and it may take time to reach you.
- Reducing the Frequency of Repairs
There is no specific maintenance or repair technique that unconditionally guarantees that your heating system will have no issues through the heating season. But, regular annual maintenance will undoubtedly help a great deal. It’s estimated that approximately 85% of heating system repairs could be prevented with regular maintenance. When you have fewer repairs, there will be less downtime and your indoor comfort can be maintained.
- Promoting Safety
Safety should always be paramount in your home, and the heating system should not be an exception. This is particularly true if you have a gas powered furnace and heating system. Modern gas heaters have plenty of safety features, but an annual service is a great way to make sure that they are safe to use. Any potential leaks can be detected and repaired before they become hazardous.
- Improving Energy Efficiency
A well maintained heating system will be more energy efficient making it cheaper to run through the colder months. It’s important to understand that for every year that passes without maintenance the heating system will become less energy efficient. The heating performance may be compromised, but the system will cost more to run. The good news is that an annual maintenance visit may be able to reverse those effects quickly. So, if you’ve let your heating maintenance slide over the last few years, you can still make your heating system more energy efficient today.
- Greater Heating System Longevity
A heating system has a finite lifespan that can vary a great deal depending on the make and model. Another critical factor in heating system longevity is regular maintenance from a professional HVAC technician. If a heating system is well maintained it could last for years longer than a system that’s neglected. For every year of operation, a heating system will represent a better investment on the initial costs. Regular maintenance will help you to avoid replacing your expensive heating system prematurely.
DIY Heating Maintenance
As you can see, it’s important to get regular maintenance for your heating system, and there are some aspects that you can carry out yourself. It’s a great idea to change your air filter regularly to ensure that you have adequate airflow. The filter should be changed every month, and some systems may have an indicator to remind you. Keep the area around your unit clear of any clutter and periodically wipe away dust. Always keep the vents and registers clear from obstructions, such as furniture, drapes, and rugs.
Professional Heating Maintenance
Any other heating maintenance task should be carried out by a certified HVAC technician. During an annual maintenance checkup, the technician will check a number heating system parts, such as the thermostat, lubrication for moving parts, the condensate drain, tightening of electrical connections, system controls, fuel lines, pressure testing, cleaning tasks, and safety checks. A professional will have the training, experience, and tools to carry this work out safely.