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Chances are, you and your family rely on central heating systems to keep your home warm and comfortable, especially during the wintertime. However, handling these systems doesn’t just stop at installing the equipment and having a fireplace insert, which we discussed previously here on Heat Talk. This is because of the fact that while these systems are extremely dependable, they are still mechanical equipment that needs attention from time to time.
There are several telltale signs that you need to call a professional for repairs, as listed here on Influential Magazine. These include unusual noises coming out of your furnace, an increase in dust from heating vents and a lag in the time it takes to warm your house. However, many common issues with heating systems can be avoided with regular professional inspections and cleaning of key components. Ensuring good maintenance practices can mean that they keep your family safe and comfortable, your electric bill low, and your efficient the long run.
So with that in mind, here are some ways you can prolong the life of your heating system with careful maintenance.
Schedule a check-up
Regardless of the kind of heating system your home has, it is important to hire a certified professional to inspect it annually. This allows you to spot problems early on, saving you from the hassle and expenses in the future, according to House and Home Magazine.
Many of the regular tune-ups needed for heating systems should only be conducted by licensed contractors particularly when it comes to your boiler. During the annual inspection, feel free to ask your contractor for any additional pointers to help keep your heating system healthy.
Check your filters, ductwork, and registers
For those with forced air systems, one way you can prolong the life of your unit is to keep the airways clean. This ensures that it is efficient and can provide the best possible indoor air quality for you and your family.
Start by checking your filters once a month for dust and debris, and try to replace them every three months. HGTV explains that clogged filters reduce airflow, making your system work unnecessarily longer and harder. If you have pets or family members with asthma, you might have to do this more frequently.
Next, inspect your ductwork for open joints or corrosion from mold or rust. Reseal open joints with duct tape, and repair or replace corroded ducts with the help of a professional. While you’re at it, clean up after any signs of dust in your ducts, exhaust vents, and registers.
Drain your boiler
For those with hydronic systems, the Edward Lipinski recommends draining your boiler once a year to remove accumulated sludge in the form of mineral deposits and rust. By doing this it improves the efficiency of your system, allowing for better water circulation and preventing any future damage.
When draining your boiler, wait an hour after turning off the burner to avoid being scalded. Close the water inlet valve and place a bucket underneath the boiler drain valve. Drain the water until it runs clear, which should allow you to collect a bucket or two of water from your boiler.
Take care of your radiator
Last but not least, don’t forget to check your radiators. Dust radiator surfaces with a good hoover and straighten the fins on baseboard heaters. If air is frequently trapped inside, bleed the radiators once or twice a year to allow hot water to circulate freely. To do this, simply position a pan underneath the bleed valve before opening it with either a screwdriver or radiator key. At first, only air will come out. Close the valve once water begins to pour out, meaning that you’ve effectively taken out trapped air.
In order to further prolong the life of your radiator, consider installing radiator cabinets to keep your units protected from dents and other physical damage. Screwfix list a variety of radiator cabinets that provide added safety to your home. You will also have the added bonus of keeping the radiator out of harms way in the cabinet, this is especially valuable if you have young children wandering around your house.
No matter which type of heating system your home has, a combination of routine check-ups and careful home maintenance is the best way to prevent full-blown emergencies and prolong the life of your unit.