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More Winter Preparation

More Winter Preparation

It’s time for more winter preparation. Up here in the Northern Hemisphere it is getting cooler and cooler. Winter will be here in a matter of months. It is important to have your heating system checked and ready to go. You don’t want your heat to go out on you when its cold. Here in Wisconsin it gets down to minus 30, and that’s cold. If you have electric baseboard, the first time you turn it on in the season it will probably smell like burning hair and smoke. That’s because electric baseboard gets so hot it can burn hair and dust particles that are trapped inside the fence. It’s pretty much self cleaning that way. But hydronic systems are not that hot. They don’t burn the hair and dust, so that hair and dust can cause the air to not flow smoothly between the fins. Air flowing between the fins is how the air heats up and then that’s how the room heats up.

It is very important to keep your baseboard radiator is clean. It will help the efficiency and lower your heating bills.  Just vacuuming them out will help but it is not enough. It is better to have both compressed air and a vacuum cleaner to clean the fins of a hydronic baseboard heater. Do whatever it takes to clean those fins, folks!

It is also very important to make sure you have a spare ignitor for your boiler or furnace, if your boiler or furnace is gas. Speaking of gas, if you use propane, make sure your propane tank is full. And check it once in awhile during the winter to make sure you know where the level is. It’s just not fun to run out of propane when it’s cold outside.  And if you use heating oil, make sure you don’t run out.

It is good to have a service manual always close to your heating unit, if that unit is a boiler or furnace. A great list of them can be found here Heating Service Manuals.  The most important thing that will go out, the most often, is the igniter. Some people change ignitor is at the beginning of every season. That is a good idea but I don’t know if it is necessary. I do know that making sure your filters are clean is necessary. So make sure you have clean filters at the beginning of the season and check them at least once a month to make sure they are still clean. Dirty filter is move less air through the heater and into the room. This causes the heater to work more to heat up the room to the temperature that you want.

It might also be time to replace your furnace or boiler. I highly recommend getting a high efficiency furnace or boiler, because, although they are more expensive to buy, they are less expensive to use and have a less carbon footprint. That’s more and more important. Going solar is good also if you have lots of Sun. Anything to reduce global warming is good. Good for your world and your children and your environment and your own life. Go green wherever possible!