Can you believe it? Autumn is on our heels. We’ve had a busy summer here at GAMA Air helping our friends and neighbors in and around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino with their central cooling system problems. But now... it is time to turn your attention to your heating system. Are one of those people that ignore your central furnace or heat pump system until you’re freezing? Do yourself a favor: Check your heating system now.
In my grandparents’ day, getting ready for winter meant stocking up on fire wood. Things have changed. So here’s a few things that most anyone can do in the fall before the hard cold sets in to get your central heat system all set. And even though we will be there for you if you start breathing icicles on a holiday weekend, you don’t want to get to that point if you can avoid it. Am I right?
Even if you diligently replace your air filter (very good, by the way, we applaud you), the following steps will go a long way to keep you comfortable all through the winter.
- Ask a professional heating and air company to service your heating system. Very likely your heater unit isn’t pristine and immaculate. So unless your boiler, furnace or heat pump is brand new, it is a wise step to have it periodically serviced by a professional technician to keep it running cleanly and efficiently. You may already be one of our happy customers, but if not give us a call at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a check-up on your system.
- Bleed radiators and change filters. Most houses have either forced-air systems or radiators. If you have a hydronic system, or hot-water radiators, then a basic step is to “bleed” the air out of the system at the start of the heating season. To do so, start up the boiler and make sure the circulator pump is running. After the system has warmed up, grab a bucket and open the valve on each radiator into the bucket. As soon as water is coming out with no air or gurgling then close the valve.
If you have a fuel burning furnace or heat pump then you have a forced-air system which means air is blowing throughout your house through registers in the floor, walls or ceiling. In this case you need to change the air filter on a regular basis. See one of our previous blog entries for more details on changing your air filter.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Now that you’ve don’t the basics, you can make your heating system work more efficiently. A programmable thermostat is relatively inexpensive and is easy to install for the average do-it-yourselfer. If you follow the instructions carefully, both for installation and for programming, then your thermostat will make sure your central heating system is only operating when you’re home and benefiting from it, rather than wasting money heating an empty house. See one of our previous blog entries for more details on programmable thermostats.
- Keep the air moving. Does your house have high ceilings and ceiling fans? You don’t have to retire them after the cooling season is over. They are helpful in the winter also to evenly distribute heat throughout your home. Nearly every ceiling fan has a switch to reverse direction. So find the one on your fan and switch it so that the fan is blowing up not down. You won’t feel a breeze on you, and it will push the warm air trapped in the high spots down along the walls. The even distribution of the warm air will result in less run-time of your system while you stay comfortable, and save money.
- Be smart and safe. If your furnace or boiler is in the basement or closet, then double check the area and make sure you don’t have stuff piling up around it. Choking the air flow around the unit, or having potentially flammable things piled up around the unit or the flue pipe isn’t smart. So do a little clean-up to make sure the area around your heating unit is clear and safe.
Do you have questions that you’re eager to get a response on? You’re at the right place! Fill out the form on our “Ask an Expert” page, and the resident expert at GAMA Air will get back to you quickly with an answer.