What to do When Turning on Your Heater for the Winter

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November 26, 2019

Furnace Heating

During the hot Houston summers, your air conditioner does all the work to keep your home comfortable for your family, but what happens when the first blast of Arctic air blows through to kick off the winter season? It’s time to turn on your heater for the first time in months. Here are some things to consider when you turn on your heater for the first time this season:

Inspect Your HVAC System

Before turning on your heater, it’s important to inspect the system to prevent fire hazards, dangerous gas leaks and costly repairs.
To make sure your system in good condition, you should:

  • Check for rusted components and clogged filters.
  • Replace the air filter to ensure that your system is running efficiently.
  • Make sure that the area around your heater is clear of debris and other obstructions as this could be a fire hazard.

If you haven’t had your system checked by a professional this year, you should consider scheduling a furnace tune up. During a tune up, a specialist will generally:

  • Test system pressure
  • Test airflow for carbon monoxide
  • Check key parts (blower motor, capacitors, etc.)
  • Clean your system

Check Your Smoke Detector

Before turning on your heating system for the winter season, it’s a good idea to test your smoke detector to ensure it’s working properly and change out the batteries if needed.  A working smoke detector is an important alert system in case something goes wrong when your heater is turned on.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious illness or death if not detected right away. It’s important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home to protect your family. Make sure to test it and replace the batteries.

Test Your System

It’s always a good idea to test your heating system before temperatures drop to make sure it’s functioning properly.
Try turning your heater on for an hour while you’re planning to be at home. This will allow you to monitor your heating system to ensure that it’s working properly and minimize any potential fire risks.
When you turn on your system, there are a few things you should look for:

  • The smell – It’s totally normal to smell something burning when you turn on your heater for the first time in months. When your heater goes unused for months, dust settles on the components. This dust is burned off when your system is turned on. If the smell persists, turn off your system and call a professional to check on it.
  • Airflow – Check the airflow from your system to make sure that it’s running properly. Is it blowing hot air? Is the system evenly warming the house?
  • Carbon Monoxide Levels – Check your carbon monoxide detector to ensure there are no gas leaks. If you feel tired or have consistent headaches after turning on your system, then your system might be leaking carbon monoxide. Turn off your system immediately and call a professional to diagnose the situation.
  • Energy Bill Spikes – After your system has run for a consistent period, you should check your energy bill for any unexpected spikes. This could mean that your heater needs to be repaired or replaced.

If you have any additional questions about firing up your heater for the winter or are interested in scheduling a furnace tune up, contact our experienced heating technicians.