Mistakes You May Have Been Making With Your Heater This Winter

Young couple in jacket and covered with blanket sitting on floor beside radiator and trying to warm up
Now that we’re in the second half of winter, you might be more aware of troubles with your home heating. We don’t just mean repair problems, which you need to deal with as soon as possible with a call for Acton, MA, HVAC services from our professionals. We mean troubles that don’t seem as obvious because they’ve come from some basic misunderstanding and errors made with the heater. We’re going to go through some common mistakes homeowners make with their heating systems and their consequences. It doesn’t take much to change course or arrange for the heating service you may need to put your heater back on track.

Failing to change the filter on a regular basis

We mention this often because it’s so easy to do, so easy to forget, and so damaging if forgotten. For any central forced-air heating system (furnace, heat pump), the filter on the cabinet needs to be swapped out every 1 to 3 months. The thinner the filter, the more frequent the change. A clogged filter creates a rise in heating costs, makes repairs more likely, can cause the blower motor to overheat, and generally shortens the heater’s service life. If you have a ductless mini split heat pump, remember to clean the individual filters found in the room units regularly.

Raising the thermostat too high

Does that 90°F setting on your thermostat look appealing? Like a day at the beach! You could lounge around the house in shorts and T-shirt when it’s below freezing outside. Please don’t do this—the house will feel stuffy and it puts immense amount of pressure on the heater to run and run trying to maintain such a ridiculous temperature. But even settings in the ‘80s are too high! The recommended daytime temperature is 68°F. Most people can be comfortable with that setting as long as they have warm clothes on. You’ll spare your heater a lot of wear and get your bills under control if you lower the thermostat.

Constantly shifting the thermostat setting up and down

Related to the above. Steady thermostat settings—one for the day when people are home and one for evenings or when the house is empty—are much better for a heater than constantly shifting up and down trying to find the “right” setting from hour to hour.

Allowing a heater that’s too old to just continue

“Too old” is relative depending on the heater type, but for furnaces and heat pumps, 20+ years is far too old. Even if the heater is still running and you’re receiving warmth from it, the decline in efficiency will be steep and the risk of a sudden system failure—likely a permanent one—is too high. Arrange for a replacement at the first convenient time.

Skipping maintenance

If you didn’t schedule maintenance for the heater in fall, you may think February is just too late and you might as well wait until the coming fall. Don’t do this—later is better than never, since the damage and wear a heater sustains over a year without maintenance is serious. And with a gas furnace, skipping maintenance can even be dangerous.

Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC has been trusted for over 30 years. Call us when you need heating assistance from the best.

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