Things to do Before Turning on Your Heater this Winter

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When winter hits and you start shivering from the cold, your first impulse is to turn up the thermostat to warm up your home. Before the cold weather sets in you should take some important steps including preventative maintenance, safety inspection and cleaning and debris that has built up. Neglecting these steps may cause your unit use more energy than necessary or bring about unexpected, costly breakdowns.

HVAC Maintenance

One important thing you can do before turning on your heater is to have preventative maintenance done by a licensed HVAC professional. Some of the maintenance tasks will include inspecting the components of the heating system, adjusting settings, testing for carbon monoxide and performing a complete standard operational test. This ensures that your unit is working at peak efficiency and won’t suffer from unexpected breakdowns. You will also save money on heating costs.

Seal Air Leaks

To make your heater more is effective in warming up your home, you need to reduce the amount of heat that could escape. This calls for checking all windows and doors for gaps and sealing them as well as inspecting the ductwork.

Replace Filters

When you turn the heater on after a long summer, you may encounter an unusual smell. If the odor lasts for more than a couple of hours, you may need to replace or clean the filters. Find the right filter size by checking the side of the unit or the owner’s manual. If you have a reusable filter, simply vacuum and clean it with water. Once dried, place the filter back in. Be sure to check the owner’s manual for more details on cleaning and replacement procedures. If odors persist you may need to call a professional to investigate.

Inspect the Area Around the Heater

Before turning on the heater, another important step is to take a look at the area around the heating unit itself. The unit in your home may located in the garage, basement, crawl space, closet or attic. Hazardous or flammable chemicals as well as dust and debris could present a potential fire hazard. Clear the area around the unit and ensure it has enough space before starting up the heater.

Check Vents

Before turning on the heater, go into each room of your home and check the vents. Clean the dust and dirt from the vents and ensure that they are opened. This will help keep the system clean, enhance your heating system’s efficiency, and save you money.


Every home should be equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. We recommend low level CO detectors rather than the typical store brands. Common CO detectors are set to alarm at 70 parts per million (PPM) and while that may be the federal mandate we would not want our families or customers exposed to those levels of carbon monoxide. Low level CO detectors alarm at 10 PPM allowing the problems to be corrected long before symptoms become evident. Alwaysrun a simple test on the detectors and replace the batteries if needed.


Once you have inspected the unit and made necessary replacements, consider testing the thermostat. Turn it on and set it to heat mode. Once you have verified the system is heating throughout your home with no unusual noises or odors check for a low battery indicator on your thermostat. Some thermostats do require battery power to function properly!


Before winter arrives, there are many steps you should take to make sure your heater is working at peak performance and to help prevent unexpected breakdowns. Taking these steps will ensure cost savings and warmth throughout your home.

Need assistance with your HVAC system? Give us a call today: 404-294-0900

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