We’re enjoying ideal fall weather right now—not too cool, not too hot. This makes it a great time to give your heating system a “test run.” This is not a substitute for professional maintenance, which you still need to schedule for the season if you haven’t done so already. But it is a good way to help you plan and notice serious problems. Plus, you’ll feel much better knowing that the next time you turn on your heating system—on a cold day when you need it—it will work the way it should.

What to Look for During a Test Run

Pick a time in the early evening and turn on the heater to a low level (you don’t want to make your house too uncomfortable) for around an hour. Look for the following:

Strange noises:

Does anything about the noises your heating system makes sound unusual? This could be noises that you’ve never heard before or just a general increase in noise output. Odd sounds include rattling, clanking, hissing, grinding, and screeching. Call for repair technicians to investigate anything that doesn’t sound right.

Rooms that aren’t getting warm:

We can’t tell you to look for “cold spots” in your house, because the weather’s still too warm for that. But you can look for rooms that don’t seem to be warming up as much as the others. Make sure that all the vents are open, and that no furniture has been moved that might be blocking them. If this doesn’t help, you may need to have professional assistance.

Weird odors from the vents:

You’ll probably notice a dusty smell when the heater first comes on, and that’s nothing surprising. But strong acrid or musty odors can indicate bigger problems.

Low airflow:

Does it seem as if there’s not enough air coming from the vents? This can point to several problems, such as a clogged air filter (make sure you change it before you regularly use the heater), trouble with the blower fan, or ducts in need of repairs.

Golden Rule serves Waukee, IA, and the Des Moines Area. “We Obey the Rules to Live By.”

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