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Is It Safe To Simply Turn On The Heat When Cold Weather Arrives?

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When the first cold weather arrives, you may think that turning on your heat is as simple as flicking on a switch. But is it? That depends on how your HVAC system is set up. Here's what you should know.

Do You Have a Separate Furnace?

Do you have a separate furnace or heating system, or do you have a heat pump that functions as both an air conditioner and a heater? That will help determine how much you need to do to get ready for heating your home. With a heat pump that's been running in cooling mode all season, you already know that things like the blower fan work. With a separate heating system, you may have to do a little more work.

At Minimum, Visually Inspect Everything

Before you turn on the heat for the year, the least you should do is a visual inspection on your own. Check for things like air vents that might have been blocked with furniture or other items during the year, as well as for dust buildups around your vents and the furnace itself. This is especially true for those separate heating systems.

Now is also a good time to check or replace your filters. You might also take a look at the visible wires to see if rodents have chewed on them. If you have an oil or gas system, make sure the pilot light is on. None of this will tell you if there are any mechanical problems on the inside, but it's a good way to reduce the risk of fire hazards and to know if you should call in a pro for an obvious problem.

Scheduling a Tune-Up Is a Better Idea

Scheduling a professional tune-up is a much better idea than trying to do a partial inspection yourself. Even with a combined heating and cooling system, there could still be problems you aren't aware of. For example, maybe the interior heating coils are dirty and you're losing heating efficiency without knowing it.

There can also be hidden safety concerns like dust or other flammables building up on the inside of your heating system, wiring or other electrical components wearing out, or even gas leaks. These problems are rare but can be catastrophic when they occur, and the only way to be sure you don't have them is to get a periodic professional inspection.

To learn more about what to do to be ready to turn on your heater, talk to a local HVAC company today.