I think we can all agree that winters in Philadelphia have become more and more unpredictable over the past few years. Autumn is the best time to make sure your home is ready for the upcoming season. There are many things you can do to prepare you roof, windows and doors, and interior space. In today's blog we will review your heating system and what can be done to guarantee efficiency, warmth and comfort during a possibly arctic winter.
Whether you have a forced air, hot-water or steam system an annual inspection and service check by a licensed, qualified professional is a must. However, you can do small things to ensure the life of your system. The easiest furnace maintenance task is simply replacing the filter. During the winter, or heating season, you should replace your filter once a month. With forced are systems, taking care of your ducts is very important. A leak in a duct can allow massive amounts of air into the attic, crawlspace or basement. Making sure there are no leaks ensures that all the heated air coming from the furnace gets to where it needs to be. Dust, lint, germs and bacteria also accumulate in ducts, so a yearly cleaning is also a good idea.
If you have a hot water system, again a yearly service check is required. You can monitor the performance of your hot-water system on your own though. Most systems have only a single gauge, which measures pressure, temperature, and altitude. Most boilers run at 12-15 pounds per square inch of pressure. If the pressure is higher or lower something is wrong. Bleeding you radiators is also sometimes needed. If you have a radiator that just won't heat, it is most likely air-locked. Bleeding the air out relieves the pressure and allows the system and pipes to fill normally.
As with forced and hot-water, steam systems should be checked by a professional once a year. However, regularly checking your steam gauge, safety valve, and water level is a great way to lengthen the life of your system. You can also check your vents to make sure they aren't blocked, and the position of your inlet valves- valves should be either all the way closed or opened. Partially shut or opened valves do nothing to move heat through your vents and can also cause that annoying clanging sound! Also make sure your radiators are sloped slightly toward the inlet pipe, which comes out of the wall or floor, this helps to prevent the knocking and clanging sounds as well.
It is important to mention that if your house is too hot or too cold it could just be your thermostat. Some potential causes could be: It's in a bad spot, it needs cleaning, its anticipator needs adjustment, or you need new batteries.
In the coming weeks we will review more tips, tricks, and tasks you should perform to prepare for the winter season. Until then, we hope this helps and gets you thinking home maintenance as you sip your Pumpkin Spice Latte. Enjoy the changing of the season. Reach out should you have any questions on the selling or buying process.