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Now that that fall – or autumn, depending on where you were raised – is about to cool down Richmond, Virginia, you’re probably thinking it is time to switch on your heater. Who wants to feel the outside chill indoors, after all? But, wait! Before you hit that switch and get the heat flowing through your home, there are a few things you’re going to want to do first to get the most out of your heating system, be a furnace or heat pump.

Check & Replace All Air Filters

Does your heater use warm air to heat your home, meaning it is a furnace or heat pump, not a boiler? If so, then the air it circulates goes through an air filter to catch dust, debris, and other contaminants you don’t want to breathe in.

As time goes on, the filter or filters in your heating system will start to get dirty, assuming they are doing their job. When there is too much dust collected on a filter, it creates an airflow obstruction. Your heating system will have to work harder to overcome that obstruction, causing it to cycle more often and demand more power. It all adds up to lessened heating efficiency and a spike in your energy bills.

To solve this problem, do a quick check of all your air filters before you turn your heater on for the fall. If it looks dusty – or you can’t even see through it – exchange it for a new filter. A safe bet is swapping out the filter about once every three months to ensure it is doing its job and not wearing down your heater.

Calibrate the Thermostat

In order to make your home a cozy temperature, your heating system relies on the thermostat to tell it when and when not to run. If there is a problem with the thermostat, then there is a problem with the entire heating system.

Before you run the heater all fall and waste money due to a thermostat glitch, conduct a quick thermostat test:

  1. Put in new batteries if your thermostat requires them. Thermostats that aren’t wired directly into the wall need their own batteries. You can probably replace the batteries just once a year and be fine, so you may as well include it in your fall checklist.
  2. Set the fan switch to ‘auto’, rather than ‘on.’ When set to ‘auto,’ the heater will not circulate air unless it has been heated. Otherwise, it could needlessly blow room temperature or cold air into your home.
  3. Set the system or temperature switch to ‘heat.’ You might be rolling your eyes at this hint, but you’d be surprised how often people forget it! It makes sense to forget about it, too. For most of the year, you probably have your thermostat set to ‘cool’ so making the switch to ‘heat’ might be out of mind.

Call an HVAC Expert

Lastly, we highly recommend you get an HVAC professional to take a look and tune-up your heating system before the fall sets in and cold temperatures follow. Your heater has likely been sitting unused for months. Demanding it suddenly run around-the-clock to keep your home warm might be too much for an older, worn-down, or neglected system. With some preventative maintenance from a professional, you can spot potential problems early on and fix them before they become major issues. That saves you big bucks in the long run!

Heater maintenance also helps improve the system’s overall efficiency. No more waiting hours for your home to actually get warm after you turn on the heater. Plus, greater efficiency means less energy used to run the heater, once again saving you money by cutting down your energy bills.

If you live in Richmond and need some HVAC maintenance before the fall, call (804) 277-2458 to connect with Blazer Heating, Air, and Plumbing. Our team of certified and licensed technicians is standing by to help you with any and all heater problems so you can stay indoors and actually enjoy it this fall. Contact us today to arrange a tune-up or repair. Same-day emergency services are also available.