The Ultimate Heating System Maintenance Checklist
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Cold weather is here to stay! Across the country, heating systems are on in force, warming homes to keep them comfortable compared to the chilly outdoor temps that have become our daily norm. Heating system maintenance is essential for keeping your home comfortable and your system performing optimally this fall and winter, and on into spring.
HVAC.com is here to help you give your heating system the maintenance it needs to keep you warm until outdoor temperatures rise again! Our heating system maintenance checklist covers all the maintenance items you should do now and throughout heating system to keep your furnace or heat pump working properly.
Heating System Maintenance Checklist: What to Do Now
- If you haven’t already had it performed, we cannot stress enough how important it is to schedule professional heating system maintenance with your local HVAC professional. Your HVAC technician’s heating system maintenance checklist covers technical items most homeowners are not capable of tackling themselves. The entire system is inspected, critical components are cleaned, lubricated, and cared for, helping your furnace or heat pump to run smoothly and consume less energy while doing so. This heating system maintenance checklists works to combat system breakdowns, which can save you discomfort and cost associated with emergency heating repairs.
- Change your furnace filter. Start the season off with a fresh filter for better indoor air quality and performance! A clean furnace filter does a better job at removing contaminants as air circulates, allowing your heating system to receive adequate airflow to lower energy consumption.
- Clear the area surrounding your heating equipment. Proper airflow is essential to a well-functioning furnace or heat pump. When items are stored surrounding the system, airflow to the unit is reduced – this forces the unit to work harder to achieve proper airflow, consuming more energy. Storing flammable items such as cleaners and gasoline near the heating system is a fire hazard. Leave a six-foot clear zone around your furnace or air handler to protect your system and your household. If you have a heat pump system, remove all items and debris surrounding the outdoor unit to facilitate proper airflow.
- Check carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a risk during heating season when fuel-burning systems are in use. Your HVAC company’s heating system maintenance checklist works to ensure components are in good working order to prevent carbon monoxide being released into the home, but carbon monoxide detectors should still be in place as a safety precaution. If your home is not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, now is the time to install them – one for each floor of the home. Take the time now to check power sources for all units – replace batteries with fresh ones, and test hard-wired connections to your home’s electrical system. Test all units using the test function to ensure they are working properly.
- Program your thermostat. Your programmable thermostat will need reprogrammed with winter temperature schedules for optimal comfort and efficiency. Check out our guide to winter thermostat settings to choose energy efficient schedules for your programmable stat.
- Clear registers and vents. Walk through your home, checking each room to see that no furniture, rugs, or other items are blocking supply and return registers. Move items away from registers to allow air to move properly through your living areas. This will keep rooms warmer and help your heating system operate more efficiently.
Heating System Maintenance Checklist: Monthly To-Do List
- Check your furnace filter. During colder months, your heating system is operating heavily. This means it is constantly pulling contaminants from your indoor air supply. The filter is likely to become clogged faster than it does during periods of light use. Quality disposable filters typically require a change every 3 to 6 months, but it is smart practice to inspect them monthly during heating season to see if a change is warranted sooner. If your filter appears gray and caked with debris, go ahead and change it.
- Test carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home should be tested monthly to ensure they are functioning correctly. Use the test feature on your units to check that it is working properly each month.
- Check the outdoor unit. Heat pump systems have an exterior component which needs to be kept clear so the system receives adequate airflow for heat exchange. Check the unit monthly to ensure debris have not built up surrounding the system, restricting airflow. After heavy snow or ice storms, always check your unit to make sure the storm has not damaged the unit and that it is clear.
- Check registers and vents. Do a quick inspection of your home each month to ensure no registers or vents have become blocked with heavy furniture, carpets, or other items. Blocking these vents will cause a room to not heat adequately, and can cause your heating system to overheat due to poor airflow.