It’s that time of year, the first week in February, when here on the East Coast we observe the unusual tradition of asking what a large ground mammal thinks about the near future weather conditions. There are a number of Groundhog Day prophets, most famously Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck. We live much closer to Chuck, so we’re quite happy to hear that he predicted an early spring! (Phil disagrees on this one. Go, Chuck!)
Seriously, however, no matter what groundhogs may say, you have to make sure your home heating system is prepared for any sort of heavy chill during the next six weeks before a spring thaw arrives. Here are some steps to take for extra winter preparation precaution.
Remember the Air Filter!
Make this your winter battle cry. The air filter in a furnace or heat pump is essential for protecting the interior of the heating system from sustaining damage due to debris coming through the return air duct. It only takes 1 to 3 months for it to become seriously clogged, and that will lower airflow and place tremendous pressure on the blower motor, leading to multiple problems. Check the filter regularly, and change it as needed.
Watch Out for Cold Spots
Never ignore the presence of unusually cooler parts of the house. You should already have a good idea of the normal comfort levels throughout the rooms when the heater is running. Any sign that one of those rooms is colder than normal is a warning that something is going wrong with either the heater itself or in the ventilation system. (It might also be insulation problems in the room.) Have technicians take a look into this mystery and then solve it.
Keep Snow Clear of the Outdoor Heat Pump Cabinet
If you use a heat pump for warmth rather than a furnace, it’s important to see that the outdoor cabinet doesn’t have snow up against it. This will not only restrict heat absorption, but it risks water getting inside the cabinet, which will promote corrosion. Any obstruction around the cabinet needs to be cleared away.
Tips for Boiler Owners
What if you use a boiler for heat, rather than a forced-air system like a furnace? The good news is that boilers face fewer repair problems because they have a smaller number of moving parts. But that doesn’t mean there will never be problems! Listen for any odd sounds from the boiler, such as rumbling (which means overheating), and make certain that all radiators and baseboard heaters are generating the adequate level of heat. You want to get ahead of any potential problems before the boiler is in serious trouble.
Never Delay on Repair Calls
This is the most critical part. If you have any reason to suspect that your heating system isn’t living up to expectations, or if something about its behavior seems odd, don’t wait and hope it will go away. Call us for repair service ASAP!
Once again, we really hope that Chuck is right on this one and Phil is wrong. But no matter what, you can trust that we will do the right job for your home heating system here in Edgewater, NJ, no matter what!
Advanced Mechanical Services offers heating help throughout the Tri-State Area.