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Preparing for cold weather

Preparing for cold weather.

In the Northern Hemisphere cool and cold weather is approaching. You have to make sure that whatever heater you have is going to be working when you need it. You don’t want to wait until later when you first need it and you find that it’s not working properly.

If you have a furnace or other heater that blows warm air into your living space one thing that you should do is check your filter.  If your filter is dirty, either blow it off with a compressor or the blower part of a vacuum cleaner, or replace it.  If it’s very dirty replace it.  That will extend the life of your furnace or other heater by not making it work harder than it has to to get air through a dirty filter. Make sure the cleaned or new filter is pointed in the right direction when you install or reinstall it.

If you have a baseboard heating system make sure that it is clean between the fins. This is especially needed if you have an electric baseboard system. If the fins are dirty then less air moves between them. This makes it take more energy to heat a room. So take some time and clean off your baseboard heaters. This is very important.  I use a compressor to blow the dust and hair and cobwebs out of the fins and a vacuum cleaner to catch them.  I have the compressor on the top and the vacuum cleaner on the bottom.  It takes some time but you will be surprised how much gets cleaned out.

If you have a gas boiler or furnace, it is a good idea to always have a spare igniter. They can go out anytime and if it goes out in the dead of winter, you might be screwed. Sometimes they are hard to find. And if your gas heater goes out at an inconvenient time, like a holiday or a Sunday, you might have no choice but to hire a professional who might have one in stock and that would cost a ton of money. Igniters are easy to replace, and if you have a spare one and a maintenance manual, you can save a lot of money by replacing it yourself. Just follow all the directions and make sure the igniter is air tight when you are done. You don’t want gas to be leaking through the ignitor hole.  As soon as you use your spare, get another so you always have one ready.