The colder months of winter can be quite cozy, as long as you have a heater working to keep you toasty at home. Instead of assuming that your heater will be reliable throughout the winter, you might want to go through this checklist to evaluate your heater's condition. There may be simple things you can do to improve its efficiency and health.
When Did You Last Change Your HVAC Filters?
A clean air filter in your heating system is healthy for you, but it's also healthy for your furnace. The furnace won't have to work as hard to push air through the system if the filters are clear of debris that blocks the air flow.
How Does Your Pilot Light Look?
One thing that you can quickly look at is the condition of the pilot light. It may be that the pilot light is weak or that it sometimes doesn't come on at all when you flip the switch. Either issue should be checked out by a heating repair specialist before winter; either condition could lead to an imminent failure of your heating system.
Is the Thermostat Working?
You may also want to do some testing to see if your home's thermostat is actually heating to the level that it says on the controls. Getting a second thermometer in the home to test the temperature is one way to check the thermometer's reading against another source. There are many causes of thermometers giving a bad reading, from a faulty thermometer, to an improperly placed thermostat (such as one that's placed near a drafty window or in direct sunlight).
How Does the Combustion Chamber Look?
You might want to take a look at the combustion chamber to see if it needs cleaning. The combustion process leaves behind some residue which can cause corrosion in the chamber and lead it to perform less efficiently. Look at your owner's manual for instructions on how to scrape away grit in the combustion chamber, or leave it to a furnace maintenance specialist.
As you can see, there are many potential steps that you could take to check on the health of your heating system before the winter season hits. You might want to simply opt for an inspection by an HVAC and furnace maintenance technician; they will be able to catch issues as they do any and all routine maintenance such as replacing fluids and worn parts.