Before winter begins, it is smart to do a basic checkup of your heating system to make sure everything is working as well as it can. As your system lays dormant during the summer, when you aren't using your heat, your furnace can build up dust, get dirty, and generally start to act up. So, it is a good idea to make sure everything is in working order before you try and run your heater. Here are three things you should do to complete a heating tune-up before you need to start using your heater on a daily basis.
Check Your Pilot Light
The first thing you do is check your pilot light. Most furnaces will keep the pilot light lit all year, unless the gas is turned off. If you turned off your pilot light at the end of last winter, for any reason at all, you will need to re-light it before you can use your furnace. Most of the time, the pilot light is already lit, and there is nothing to worry about. But, if you shut off the gas to your home for any other reason during the summer, there is a good chance that your pilot light is no longer lit.
Check Your Air Filter
Next, you should check and make sure that your air return filter is clean. Most filters have a lifespan that is less than one year. However, many homeowners will go several years before they actually replace their air filter. This is going to be detrimental to the productivity of your furnace and the cleanliness of the air flowing into your home. It only takes a matter of seconds to check your air filter. The filter is usually located inside the main furnace cabinet or on the outside wall. Either way, you don't need any tools to actually pull the filter out. If the filter is dirty, black, moldy, and caked in dust, throw it away immediately. It is never really worth your time to try to clean. You can't suck the dust out from the filtering felt very effectively. On top of this, filters usually cost less than $20, so it really isn't worth your time.
Give It a Test Run
Once you have ensured that your pilot light is lit and your filter is clean, you should give it a test run. Importantly, you want to stand next to your furnace when you fire it up.