As summer grinds to a halt, warm, sunny days are replaced with the frigid feeling of fall and winter. This is the perfect time to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a cozy environment to keep you and your guests warm. You should also make sure your heating system is in tip-top shape, which includes regular maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your heating system running throughout the cold winter months.

For Maintenance

Keeping your central heating system in working order involves plenty of maintenance. Before you get started with this maintenance, however, it’s crucial that you shut everything off. Look for a red electrical switch near your stairs or furnace and turn it off. Then, find the fuel shutoff valve and turn the fuel supply off.

It’s important to remember where these switches are in the event of an emergency. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this maintenance yourself, you can always call a professional for heating repair services.

Get to Work

Now that you’ve got your furnace switched off and ready to work on, it’s time to get down to business. There are a number of steps you should take in maintaining your heating system, all equally important, more or less.

The first thing you should do is clean the combustion chamber. This is where the actual’ignition takes place, which means it collects its fair share of soot. Use a wire brush to scrape the bulk of the soot from the inside of the chamber, then use a wet/dry vacuum to remove loose debris.

Next, you should take a look at the spot where your flue pipe connects to the furnace. If the pipe is corroded too much, you’ll need to replace it. If there are any small holes present, you can patch them with a bit of foil tape.

If you have an oil-powered furnace, it will have an oil filter in it. This furnace helps filter the oil which eventually makes it very dirty. Close the oil valve, pop a new filter on, and dispose of the old one.

One of the most important steps in maintaining central heating and cooling systems is making sure the air filter is in working order. Every bit of heated air that’s pumped into your house passes through this filter, which means two things: the filter itself gets dirty quickly, and it’s the only thing standing between you and the contaminants lurking in the air and ducts. Air filters should be changed about every three months, although they will last a bit longer than that. Ultimately, the frequency of air filter replacements depends on how much you value indoor air quality.

Speaking of breathing clean air, the floor vents are another important spot to clean. Gravity and debris work together to clog these vents with all sorts of unwanted dust and debris, which compromises indoor air quality and reduces the efficiency of your heating system. Remove the vent cover for the floor vent in each room and vacuum it out to ensure it’s clean; this should be done on a somewhat regular basis.

Just in Case

Of course, nothing guarantees your heating system will be problem free. Even if you perform all the proper maintenance, you could still end up with a busted heater in the middle of the winter. If that’s the case, your best bet is to find an emergency heating repair service. They’ll be able to get things up and running in no time, which means you won’t have to deal with weeks of sitting in a cold house waiting for a repairman to show up.