Written by Brad Crawford
Your central heating has probably been the last thing on your mind here in Dallas over the last couple of weeks. But, now is the time to take a look at it and make sure it is in the right condition to start up for winter when the cold pours in. The last thing you want is for the temperature to drop and your central heating not to work like it is supposed to.
Your central heating is a mechanical and electrical marvel. It is one of the things that define the era you live in. Just 50-60 years ago, rooms were heated and cooled separately. So, give your HVAC system the respect it deserves. That means realizing that it has been sleeping for several months now and when you flip that switch to wake it up, it might be grouchy. Be prepared to deal with a few sudden outbursts of groggy clinging, dusty coughing and rotten smells.
You have probably noticed in the past when you have woken your central heating up from its hibernation that rusty, burning smell. Well, in most cases that is normal. It is just rustling up the dust and tiny debris that have settled in there and it is basically burning it off. Some industry professionals refer to this as “fall breath.” But, that is just a good indication that you need to treat it like the delicate machine it is.
Let’s take a look at a few of things you need to do to tune that sleepy giant up before winter:
1. First of all, pay close attention to the thermostat. Do you normally set it to the same temperature in the winter as you do in the summer? No, of course not. Go ahead and reset it to the winter normal temperature so that your central heating will have a reason to kick on. As a matter of fact turn it up a little bit higher in case you are doing this when it is still a little warmer out.
2. Open your control panel to your furnace and check to make sure it is working properly. It is a good idea to have all the dust and cobwebs cleared away from this beforehand so that you do not risk electrical shock. You need to look for things like the starting cycle. Does it start up okay? Is it operating without any discrepancies? Is it shutting off properly when it reaches the thermostat temperature?
3. Take a look at your gas connections. Do you smell any leaks? Do any of the connections look like they need to be replaced? You should also have a professional look at these and tell you if the gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger are in safe working order.
4. Your central heating is composed of moving mechanical parts. Just like anything mechanical, it needs grease. Go through and check all moving parts and give it a fall lube. This is also something that you might need to refer to a professional, especially if you are not knowledgeable about HVAC systems and components.
5. Inspect your electrical connections and make sure they are in safe and proper working order. Your central heating system relies on electrical connections to work properly and if any of them are frayed or loose, that can lead to problems that you definitely don’t want.
These are all things that should be taken care of well before the winter weather starts creeping in, but it is highly advisable to call a professional out to your Dallas home to handle these tasks. Your central heating system is a complex and delicate machine. If you are unsure of what you are looking at or doing, then you can easily damage it.
Many of the things you can do to help maintain your central heating and entire HVAC system are standard pre-emptive measures. This includes checking and cleaning your condensate drip line, routinely changing out your air filter and keeping furniture as well as other household items away from your vents.
All three of those things are factors that contribute to your HVAC system having to work harder to distribute the produced air. The basic principle here is to make sure that all working parts are obstruction free.
The key to having and using a healthy central heating system is maintaining it. In most cases, it is the little things that add up to make sure it lasts a very long time. Now is the time to wake up your heat and get all the kinks out before cooler weather comes knocking on your door.