What to Do When Turning on Your Heater for the Season

Nov 30, 2020

As you prepare for the transition from summer to the colder months of fall and winter, it is easy to start turning on your heater without a second thought. Things you should be aware of include dust collecting on the air filters and in the duct system, lubricants drying up, and general maintenance needs to ensure optimal operation of your heating unit. 

In order to ensure a safe home and a well-maintained furnace, it is recommended that you take the following measures before turning on your heating system. 

Preparing to Turn On Your Heating System

Do a Visual Inspection:  Examine the furnace for glaring problems like dirty burners, a damaged flue, loose duct connections, or a loose blower belt. Make sure there is no debris close to the coils and that the heat pumps or ductless mini spits are clean. 

Look for a clogged condensate drain and be sure there is no physical damage to refrigerant lines or electrical wires. 

Assess the entire system:  Remove debris that is close to the furnace or air handler, particularly flammable materials like paper. Eliminate dust and dirt from the exterior of the furnace or air handler using rags or a vacuum. 

Inspect the ducts:  Check the accessible air ducts for loose insulation, loose joints, and other damage. Look inside each vent for blockage, especially floor vents that can easily catch debris while cleaning.  Also, ensure that all baffles are open. Use a vacuum to get rid of dust from the vents and inside the ductwork. 

Clean or replace the air filter:  If you have a disposable filter, remove it, and install a new one of equivalent size, type, and MERV rating. Clean the air filter if it is reusable according to the manufacturer’s specifications and reinstall it. 

Test the heating system:  If there were no issues found during the inspection process, then turn on the system and look for problems like strange noises, leaks, or airflow issues. Call a field service technician at Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning if you do find any problems. 

Set Your Thermostat: If you have a programmable thermostat, review the program, and be sure it is correct for the upcoming season and your schedule. Keep in mind that you can save considerably on your utility costs if you turn down the heat when you are not home. 

Install new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors:  Test all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors using the test button, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Also, be sure to wipe dust away from the vent opening on each detector so vapors can reach the sensor. 

Here are some additional measures you should take before starting your heating system: 

Is there a smell?

When you initially turn on your heater, it is likely you will smell burning dust.  Dust tends to collect on the heating components during the summer months of the year. If the smell continues for longer than a few hours, you might change the filters and clean the ducts. However, if there is a fire or smoke coming from the heating system, turn it off immediately. Extinguish the flames and get out of the house. 

Check the carbon monoxide detector reading

If the alarm on your carbon monoxide detector goes off or has a reading over 30, turn off the furnace immediately and call a technician, as this may present an unsafe condition. Open the windows and don’t turn on the heating unit again until after a professional has evaluated the situation. 

Is the furnace making unusual noises?

Does it seem that your furnace is struggling to operate normally? Are there excessive noises or airflow? Either of these scenarios could signal that the furnace needs a maintenance service. If your heating unit is not blowing warm air, you should check the breaker. Be sure your heater is receiving power. There are electrical heat pumps that have a defrost condition in which the unit runs through a defrost cycle when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After this cycle has completed its process, the heater unit should turn on again. 

What Do Results of Testing Your Furnace Tell You?

After you have taken these measures and determined the condition of your furnace, you should be confident in knowing whether your system runs well or not. Any appliance that heats up has the potential to be dangerous. That is why it is always best to be safe and take these necessary precautions. 

Do a comprehensive assessment of your heating system now, so you can take care of issues as needed before the weather turns cold. Check out other articles by Apollo on 7 Comon HVAC Problems to Watch Out For in the Winter.

Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning for Help Turning on your Furnace

A quality furnace system is one of the most important investments you can make in your home. The system adds both value and comfort to your living space and should be regularly maintained to keep it in top working order. 

Look to the HVAC experts at Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning to ensure your energy system is in excellent condition.  

At Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning, we are committed to delivering premium quality HVAC service, maintenance, products, and documentation in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and beyond! 

Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).