Have You Prepared Your Heating System for Winter?

Winter heating system

Posted: December 15, 2015

The warmer temperatures during the first half of December makes us forget that winter officially begins on December 22. Despite the spring-like temperatures we’ve all been enjoying, it’s a safe bet that a cold spell is on its way to Connecticut soon. Mother Nature wouldn’t have it any other way!

So the question is: are you ready when that happens?

Whether you get your heat from a boiler or a furnace, the most important thing you can do is to schedule an appointment for your tune-up service. An annual tune-up is the best way to winterize your system because it helps to extend the life of your equipment, prevents winter breakdowns and saves you as much as 10% on your annual heating costs. If you haven’t already done so, please contact us to request your heating system tune-up.

How a boiler works

If you have a hot water (hydronic) system, water circulates around your boiler’s combustion chamber. A circulator pumps the hot water through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators. Eventually, the water returns to the unit to begin the cycle again. If you have a steam system, the boiler turns the water into steam, which then rises through pipes to radiators.

Hot tips for boilers

  • If you’re not getting heat from a baseboard, check to see if the damper is open. Make sure the bottom of the unit isn’t blocked by heavy carpeting.
  • For steam systems, check the boiler’s water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause for shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty. Contact us if you’re not familiar with this procedure.
  • A radiator valve has only two positions, on and off. Keeping the valve’s handle in between does not regulate the temperature but can strain the pipes and produce a hammering sound.

How a furnace works

A furnace refers to the heating unit in a warm air, or forced air, system, After air is heated in the furnace, a blower forces it through ducts. The warm air is then released through vents or registers in your home.

Hot tips for furnaces

  • All warm air systems have filters to screen out dust and other impurities. If you have a standard throwaway filter, replace it about once month during the heating season. Make sure the furnace is off before changing the filter. After you’ve changed the filter, make sure the furnace door/panel is properly closed. Higher efficiency air filters require less maintenance and can be taken out and cleaned as needed.
  • If you have a whole house air cleaner connected to your furnace, get the most out of it by keeping the thermostat setting to “on” instead of auto. This provides continuous circulation and filtration of indoor air and helps maintain a balanced temperature throughout your home.

Important tips for all heating systems

  • Keep the area around your system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
  • Keep registers, baseboards or radiators clean and unobstructed to ensure maximum air flow.