“Long live the King!” I’ve actually never said that in my entire life, but I have seen it in movies. What does that make you think of? To me it seems that people want long life from something or someone that helps them. And doesn’t that fit your home’s central heating system? It helps you, and you want it to live a good long life. So, join me now shouting: “Long live the HEATER!” But will your heater really make into its “golden years”? Just because it is old doesn’t mean that it can’t work well for you. But they don’t last forever. Their average lifespan is about 15 years. It could be less, or it could be more depending on how well you maintain it. So, what can you do to give your heating system a long life? Here are five tips to keep your system happy and healthy in its old age.
Give it a Rest
Just like the miles on a car and not just the age is what really matters, what matters on your heating system is total run time, not just how long ago it was installed. It will last longer if it doesn’t run when not needed. We recommend using a programmable thermostat that is set to turn the temperature down slightly when you are away from home and at night. Simply moving the setting down a few degrees will make the heating unit work less and extend its life.
Check for Leaks
If you heat your home with a Heat Pump, then it is using refrigerant. If there is a leak, even a small one, then it has to use more and more energy every day, and work harder than it was designed, just to keep you comfortable. We recommend having your heating system checked before every heating season by a service professional. Checking for leaks is one of the many things we perform during our seasonal system tune-up. If a leak is found, then have it fixed. Adding more refrigerant without fixing the leak is not the solution.
Keep the Outdoor Unit Clean
This is another tip for your Heat Pump. (Click here to read our blog post about how Heat Pumps work.) The outdoor unit contains a fan and a compressor. In order to heat your home, it has to pull air through the radiator-like coil that surrounds the compressor inside. Make sure there is nothing blocking the airflow on the top where the fan is, and that all sides of the coil are free of leaves, clippings, and dirt. But please be careful if you try to clean it. The coil is very delicate and using a brush or high-pressure water can damage it and lead to greater problems. This is one of the steps that a professional service company will offer in their seasonal tune-ups, just like we do here at GAMA Air. If you keep the outside unit clean on a regular basis, then there will be less of a chance of mechanical failure.
Perform an Airflow Check
Proper airflow in your home is needed to ensure the air conditioner operates properly and efficiently. You should not have any furniture or other items blocking the supply registers or cold air returns. Airflow is also affected if your air filter is dirty. (Click here to read about when and why to change your air filter.) You can call us at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a tune-up, and one of our technicians will be happy to show you how to do this.
Keep the Exhaust Clear
If you heat your home with a furnace, then check the exhaust vent. (Click here to read about how a how air furnace works.) This is what vents the fumes from the furnace to outside your home. If it is completely clogged the furnace will shut off to protect your family, and to keep from overheating. If it is partially blocked then the furnace may not shut off but could overheat occasionally. And if you have a high-efficiency furnace then there is another vent pipe where the furnace is pulling in air to burn. Make sure they are both clear.
Signing up for a maintenance program will ensure that your system is healthy and running efficiently all season long. If the word ‘maintenance’ raises a flag in your mind, read our post “Does My System Really Need ‘Maintenance’?” to know why it is important. If you just want to ask us about our seasonal tune-ups, feel free to give us a call. Here at GAMA Air we want your heating system to have a long and healthy life!
Curious about something related to your heating system? Visit our “Ask an Expert” page and let us know what’s troubling you.