Keeping a Close Eye on Your Home Heating
Be Heat Vigilant and Observant This Fall and Winter!
We tend to take our hot water and home heating for granted, but when something goes wrong with our home heating systems, we can easily go into panic mode. The professionals need to be contacted in some cases, but for a lot of smaller matters it’s possible with a few basic tools and some elementary knowledge of how the system works to fix the problem ourselves and save time as well as money. Here are the some of the things you need to be aware of and be prepared for before and during heating season.
The main components of any home heating system are the heat source, the system for distributing the heat and finally the thermostat which controls the temperature. A breakdown of any of these three will seriously interfere with your comfort and convenience.
A simple loss of power may be the cause of a failure in the furnace or boiler which supplies the heat in the first place. The fuel needed by the unit for it to work may not be reaching it. Even if it is reaching it, ignition may be the problem in the case of gas or oil. Or everything may be fine with the heat source but the heat itself is not reaching its destination, which would point to a problem either with the blower that gets the heat from the source or else the distribution system that carries it around the house. A fault in the thermostat will cause the unit not to switch itself off and on as it should in the heating cycle to control the level of heat in the house. So isolating the problem is the first step to solving it.
First off, check the power source for any blown fuses, and then try resetting the furnace or boiler using the reset button near the motor. The thermostat may not be set to the proper adjustment, so try raising or lowering it to see whether the unit will then activate. Check whether the pilot light is lit and that the gas supply is on, or in the case of oil that there is an adequate supply of it.
With gas heating systems you need to be especially careful, as the air quality is a major factor when these are replaced or undergo maintenance. By-products from the combustion process can damage your health, and ensuring that the chimney is unblocked and that there is proper ventilation for the gas heating system can help ensure no leakage of these harmful products into the home environment.
Keep an eye on the vent connection pipe and the condition of your chimney, as there is inevitable deterioration as time passes and repairs can be costly. In the case of the boiler or furnace, check the control settings for their provision of optimal temperature and water levels, and check for any cracks in the combustion chamber. Sweep out debris/flakes from the equipment that may have accumulated.
Just making a few regular checks to your boiler or furnace, and the distribution system of vents or pipes, will help maintain their condition and ensure a longer effective life.