Things to check before turning on the heat . . .
As you make the transition from fall to winter, it is easy to switch on the heat without giving it a second thought. However, there are a few things to check out before turning on the heat for the first time this year. In order to ensure a safe home with a well maintained furnace or heat pump, it is best to take the following steps before you start running the heat.
1. Is there a smell? When you turn the heat on for the first time, it is not uncommon to smell burning dust. As dust can settle on the heating components during the warm months of the year, it is inevitable that it is going to burn off when the unit heats up. You can open a window or two to get rid of the odor. If the smell persists for more than a few hours, consider changing the filters and cleaning the ducts. If there is actual fire or smoke coming out of the system – TURN IT OFF right away. Extinguish the flames or get out of the house and call 911.
2. What is the current carbon monoxide detector reading? If you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, purchase and install one. If the alarm goes off or has a reading over 30, turn off the heat and call a technician – like those here at LHT Cooling, Heating & Refrigeration, Inc. Open the windows and DO NOT turn the heat on again until a professional has assessed the situation. Some technicians recommend leaving the house completely if the reading is over 30.
3. Is the furnace or heat pump making unusual noises? Does it seem the the unit is struggling to run normally? Are there excessive noises or airflow? Any of the conditions may indicate that the furnace needs a tune up. Is the unit blowing warm air? The first thing to check is the breaker. Make sure the unit is receiving power. Some heat pumps have a defrost condition in which the unit runs through a defrost cycle when the temperature is under 40 degrees. Once this cycle has run its course, the heating should turn on again.
Once you have gone through the things to check before turning on the heat, you can crank up that thermostat!