The wintertime is rapidly approaching for the Lehigh Valley and the Northeast, is your home heating system ready? The 2014 winter was cold and snowy in Pennsylvania and 2015 may prove to be a repeat of last year. This article discusses some tips for preparing your heating system and getting it ready to run at its full potential and at the best possible efficiency.
Home Heating System Maintenance Tips
- Get in the habit of checking your heating system filters monthly.
- If you have gas heating, use your nose to smell for gas orders around the equipment.
- If you have oil heating, visually check for oil spills around the oil tank and oil lines supplying the heating system.
- Look for signs of any type of deterioration, rusting or damage on the heating system vent and exhaust.
- Keep the outside unit(s) free of debris, shrubs and plants. This allows the right amount of air circulation through the system.
- Make sure to get your heating system checked by a professional. They perform a complete servicing to ensure that the system is operating at is peak efficiencies. Be sure to schedule this servicing prior to the start of the heating season. Click here for a directory of heating companies.
Here are helpful tips to help save money this winter with some maintenance tips that involve other parts of your home.
Types of Heating Systems Found in Houses
Regardless of the fuel source, home heating oil, gas, propane or electric, your heating system either uses air or water to heat your home. Common styles of systems in the Northeast are hydronic or forced air systems.
Hydronic Heating Systems
A hydronic heating system uses water to heat the house. This type of system passes water through a heat coil and the coil is heated to high temperatures by using a fuel source like home heating oil. Once the water reaches the desired temperature, it is circulated through the house’s radiators or baseboard heaters.
Forced Air Systems
Forced air heating systems are very common in newer construction homes. These systems push hot air through ducts that are installed in all the home’s rooms. Inside the furnace, the air is heated to an operating temperature. Again, the fuel source for creating the hot air can be a variety of sources, such as natural gas or home heating oil.
Service Home Heating Systems Prices
The prices for servicing the different types of heating systems is typically the same or very comparable. Essentially, the technician is perform very similar tasks in preparing the heating system for the winter, such as inspecting the firing chamber, chimney, etc. However, each type of system does have specific maintenance requirements that are unique to the style of heating system being services. For example, an oil heating system will need to have the fuel nozzle cleaned, oil filter cleaned and/or replaced and the fuel line inspected for leaks. Conversely, a gas system needs to have the gas burners inspected and/or adjusted and the gas line should be checked for leaks.
The Department of Environmental Protection advises the following when dealing with oil tanks:
DEP encourages homeowners to consider these tips (courtesy of Insurance New Net):
- For safety reasons, always assume the tank contains at least some oil;
- Routinely inspect the exterior of the tank and all attached equipment;
- Check for signs of rusting on the tank and its structural supports;
- Examine the tank’s fill line and feed line to the furnace for leaks;
- Never tip over or empty a tank onto the ground;
- Enlist a professional to perform maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system; and
- Recognize that wet spots or odors near the tank may signal a problem.
Heating System Options For Homeowners Contemplating A System Change
Thinking of a change to your heating system? Here are some heating system options to consider. First, evaluate how your current system was performing. What type of fuel source is it currently using, gas, oil, propane or electricity? What fuel source do you want to utilize moving forward? Many times homeowners think that they’ll save money by switching from heating oil to natural gas. That is not always the case. Be sure to do your research. There are many benefits to heating heating your home with oil, ranging from safety to availability. Here is an article that talks about this topic: “The Facts About Oil Vs. Gas Heating“.
Home Heating Systems Comparison
If you are considering a change to the type of heating system that is being used in your home, this change could prove to be very costly. First evaluate your comfort level. Is the change being made due to poor heating in the house? If so, there may be alternatives available to you without the need of doing a complete system change. Consult with a heating specialist in order to do a complete comparison of available options. For example, if there are a few isolated rooms in the home that are not being heated correctly, a heating specialist may be able to address those issues with adjustments to your current system. In some cases, an dedicated system may need to be installed. If this is the case, there are very cost effective solutions that do not require a complete system upgrade. Installing a single purpose system in comparison to a full house system is much more affordable and it produces the same result – total house comfort.