Is your home as warm and comfortable as you would like it to be? Even though Florida sees relatively mild weather, winters can still be chilly. Your heating system is responsible for keeping your home nice and toasty. When your system is running efficiently, your home will be warmed evenly and consistently. However, suppose your system is struggling or losing efficiency. In that case, you may experience problems such as hot and cold spots, increased utility costs, and a general loss of comfort in your home.
Neglecting these problems can cause your heating system to break down and require replacement prematurely. As a homeowner, there are things you can do to support your heating system and keep it running all winter long. Keep reading for five ways to get the most out of your heating system this winter.
#1: Pay Attention to Air Flow
Your heating system pumps warmed air through your ductwork and into your home. If you are dealing with inconsistent heating or hot and cold spots, inspect your air vents and heat registers. Do you have ceiling vents or floor registers? Identify how and where the warm air is delivered throughout your home, and make sure nothing is blocking your vents or registers.
For example, if your living room is always cold, but the rest of the house is warm, check and see if your floor vent is being blocked by your couch or entertainment unit. Similarly, tall pieces of furniture, such as an armoire, can block warm air coming from ceiling vents. If nothing is blocking your registers, but no warm air is coming out, make sure louvers or dampers are open to allow air to flow through. It is not uncommon for these to be bumped closed while cleaning.
#2: Supplement Air Circulation
Depending on the configuration, your heating system may struggle to disperse warm air effectively. This can result in running your heater longer and more often in order to keep your home comfortable. Ceiling fans can help supplement your heating system and encourage warm air to move more efficiently through your home. When you have fans supporting your heating system, they will not have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable, saving you money on utility costs and extending your heater's lifespan.
Ceiling fans work exceptionally well to move air throughout a room. Just make sure your fans are operating in the right direction. In the winter, set your fans to run clockwise to create an updraft that pulls cool air up and pushes warm air down.
#3: Check Your Air Filters
If you notice an increase in dust and allergens when you run your heater, you may need to replace your heating system's air filters. Dirty air filters can also cause your system to run less efficiently. When the filter is too dirty, the furnace has to work harder. This can increase your utility bills and cause parts to wear out or break. It may also reduce the overall lifespan of your heating system.
Depending on your heating system, air filters may need to be changed every few months or once a year. Make a note to check your air filters every month to keep track of how dirty they are and review your owner's manual for manufacturer recommendations. You may find that they require changing more often during certain seasons. Additionally, if you suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions, you may find changing filters more often beneficial.
#4: Check Your Thermostat Settings
We often set our thermostats and then forget about them until we become uncomfortable. However, double-checking your thermostat settings can help you ensure that your heater is running when you need it to be. It is recommended that you set your thermostat to 68° during the day and 55° at night during the winter.
Many modern thermostats allow for a high degree of customization, and you can set a weekly schedule. Check this schedule, see if it is adequate for your needs, and ensure that your heater is not running when you are not home. If you have a smart thermometer that learns from your habits, check the current schedule, and make any necessary adjustments at the start of each new season.
#5: Schedule Seasonal Maintenance
One of the best ways to support your heating system is by scheduling regular maintenance with a professional technician. It is best to schedule your annual heater maintenance appointment before the start of winter (late summer/early fall) to ensure that your heating system is ready to go when you need it. During your maintenance visit, your technician will inspect your heating system, look for any repair issues, and ensure that the furnace operates as efficiently as possible.
If problems are uncovered, they will provide you with your repair options and help you select the products and services that are right for you. Your heater maintenance specialist will educate you on your system's overall condition and provide you with more tips on keeping it in good working order.