Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

Maintenance Tips for Your Heating Unit

Take care of your heating unit, and your heating unit will take care of you. Photo Credit:
Take care of your heating unit, and your heating unit will take care of you. Photo Credit:

While temperatures are still holding steady in the 70’s and 80’s, with the recent arrival of Fall – a perpetual chill will be in the air before we know it. Now is the perfect time to schedule a service call with your HVAC technician to make certain there are no surprises once the mercury dips – leaving you out in the cold.  Before and after your service call, there are a handful of ways you can stay on top of the maintenance of your heating unit:

  • If you turn your heater on and sense that there may be a problem, run through the following checklist before calling a service technician:
    • Is your thermostat is set in the “heat” position?
    • Is the temperature setting on the thermostat is set above the indoor temperature? If nothing happens after a few minutes, bump the temperature up another degree or two.
    • Is there power to the furnace?
      • Turn the fan to “ON” to test for power to furnace. If that doesn’t work…
      • Check the circuit breakers at the electrical panel to make sure they are in the “On” position…
      • Check the switch next to the furnace to be sure it is in the “ON” position.
    • When is the last time you replaced your furnace filter?
      • Most furnace filters should be replaced monthly.
      • A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of problems in HVAC units.
    • Check all air returns to make sure they are not blocked by furniture.
    • Check all air vents to make sure they are open and blowing warm air.
    • Check your outdoor unit to make sure that no leaves, debris, or weeds may be impeding its performance.
  • Even if your heater turns on and is blowing warm air, you may want to pay close attention to:
    • Unusual smells emanating from the vents.
    • Abnormal sounds when the unit starts up and is running.
  • In the event that you do need to call in reinforcements, make sure you’re prepped and ready for your service technician before he/she arrives to ensure a smooth visit:
    • Know where indoor and outdoor units are located.
    • Write down the model number(s) from your heating unit(s) and give them to the service company over the phone when you schedule your appointment. If you require replacement parts, they may be able to have them on hand during the initial visit rather than having to schedule a follow-up appointment.
    • Check your air filter(s). If they need to be replaced, this is a quick and easy task you can complete yourself. Otherwise, you’ll just be paying your technician for this simple service.
    • Be ready to clearly describe the symptoms or problems you’ve been experiencing – strange sounds or odors, unit not running, unit not heating, etc.
    • Do you know how long ago your problem started?
    • Make sure the system is easy to get to.  If your system is located in an attic or crawl space, move any boxes, old furniture or other obstructions that may be blocking your unit.  It behooves you to make sure your indoor and outdoor units are easily accessible for when the technician arrives.
    • Keep pets and small children away from where the technician will be working to ensure their safety.
    • Make sure to answer the phone before your appointment in the event that the technician calls to confirm the time and verify directions. An adult should be home to grant the technician entry to your home.
    • If you have a file containing information on prior services performed on your system, make it available to the technician.
    • Have your checkbook ready and be prepared to make a payment to the technician once the service has been completed.
  • Regardless of whether you sense trouble or not, it’s a wise practice to schedule preventative maintenance on your heating unit once a year. During a preventative maintenance check, you can expect your technician to perform the following tasks as they look for wear or damage to both your indoor and outdoor units:
    • Inspect blower, burner, flue, ignition, fan motor and fan belt on indoor unit.
    • Check for gas leaks from indoor unit.
    • Check airflow from each of the register vents inside house.
    • Clean dirt, leaves and debris from outside unit.
    • Inspect compressor, tubing, coil, cabinet, fan motor and fan blades of outside unit.
    • Check electrical parts such as controls, wiring, and connections on both inside and outside units.
    • Clean, lubricate, replace or repair, as needed.
    • Measure overall system performance.

The friendly folks at Highlight Homes can help you come up with additional ways to keep your family warm and toasty during the Fall and Winter months with anything from an outdoor hearth on your custom-designed porch, patio, or deck or a showcase-worthy stacked stone fireplace in your newly remodeled Great Room. If you’re ready to make your home really HOT heading into the cold season, contact Highlight Homes for a no-obligation consultation by calling 678.873.9234, e-mailing your request to, or filling out our convenient online contact form.

Have a Happy and Warm Fall Season!

Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold