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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Air

Making Sure your Heating System is Running Great before Winter

It’s October and it seems that winter is still in the future but the nights are getting cooler. Who wants to discover an issue with their heating system when it’s cold outside and inside your home or, better yet, receiving that high electric and/or gas bill. Proper maintenance is key to prolonging the life of any machine, and your home’s HVAC is no exception.

WHY IS Virginia Air Heating & Cooling’s Home Comfort Club Annual Maintenance Plan So Important for your Piece of Mind?

Checking and testing of your heating and cooling system can ensure your system is working to specifications or catch and prevent a future costly repair. Without a check and maintenance, your home’s most costly investment begins to work a lot less effectively. Professional maintenance is a lot more than just a look-over. Proper care with our experienced technicians ensures your heating system gains a lot of crucial benefits that aim to keep your heating costs (and stress level) much lower when the cold kicks in.

The benefits of our maintenance plans include:

· Lower heating costs. A well-maintained system can perform its function faster, better, and at less effort on the machine’s part. This means you’ll get all of the high-quality comfort you need without your system overworking and using too much energy, which directly impacts your monthly energy costs.

· Higher quality comfort. That efficiency also spells out better comfort. Whether you use oil heating, gas, or an electric furnace, you will have a better chance of maintaining heat throughout your home.

· Less risk of breakdowns. One of the most important parts of a professional maintenance service is ensuring your system is working optimally, and all components are in great working condition. The vast majority of seasonal breakdowns can be directly traced to poor component health or air flow problems; both issues are addressed during your maintenance check!

· Longer service from your furnace. Depending on your type of system, you can generally expect around a decade of service from your heating and cooling. But that amount of time takes into account service and maintenance and without maintenance, you can cut that decade down to even just a few years!


Checking and maintenance on your heating system(s) are best performed in the fall when it is cool but well before you actually have need of using your heat. This is important because it reduces the chances of finding a critical issue with your heat before you need and rely on it. Parts have become another issue to obtain due to shipping shortages and checking your system in advance allows enough time to obtain parts when needed. You deserve dependable, high-quality heating and professional maintenance ensures you get just that!

Simple things to do before starting your heating system

Access to Your Indoor and Outdoor System

Make sure to keep the area around your indoor and outdoor HVAC clear of all clutter and debris. Throughout the year, household stuff can pile up around your HVAC equipment which could become a fire hazard. Outdoor heat pumps require more clearance than indoor units especially from shrubs, fences, decks and walls of approximately three to four (3-4) feet around the unit and five to six (5-6) feet above the outdoor unit to allow for the unit to pull air through the coils. Gas-fired and oil-fired furnaces need air to burn and some obtain that combustion air from where it sits in your home. A clearance of two (2) feet around your indoor HVAC equipment from stored items is usually enough to allow your heating system to “breathe”. Keep in mind the items you store around or in the same room of your heating equipment as they can actually damage your internal parts. For example, ammonia from cat litter can eat away your heat exchanger over time when drawn into your system and odors from those stored items can be drawn into your system and blown throughout your home.

Check and Replace your air filters

When spring or fall comes, homeowners happily shut off their heating/cooling systems or allow their thermostat to determine when to turn on the heat or cooling forgetting about their air filter(s). If you can’t remember the last time you checked or changed your filters, you should check them now. Just remember to turn your system off and fan to off or auto before attempting to remove your air filter for inspection. The reason for this is the fan pulls air in putting pressure on your air filter which can bend the filter and make it difficult to properly install or remove. Once your system’s indoor fan has stopped running can you then safely remove or replace your system’s filter. If you don’t clean or replace a dirty air filter, you’ll limit the airflow and end up using more energy than necessary to heat your home. Besides, that same air being pulled through your system also cools the motors and some of us already know what a replacement fan motor costs! Purchasing extra furnace filters will save you that added worry and purchasing in bulk can save you money as well.

Test Your HVAC and Thermostat

Once you’ve checked and replaced the filter, don’t forget to turn your system back on. Once your system is turned back on, test your system by moving the temperature more than two (2) degrees warmer in heat mode or cooler in AC mode than the room temperature displayed on your thermostat to make sure your system is running.

If the system doesn’t respond within 15 to 20 minutes, contact your HVAC company to discuss possible issues and schedule an appointment if necessary. Don’t be alarmed if you smell something a bit off the first time you turn on your heating system. This is often the result of burning off the dust that settled in your burners or heat exchanger when the heat was not in use. If the smell is strong or does not dissipate after your system has cycled a couple times, turn your system off and have a professional HVAC technician check your system for possible dirt/debris build up and test your system to confirm it is firing properly which can create carbon monoxide when your system doesn’t completely burn the fuel. This also applies if the smell is of rotten eggs or oil, turn your system off immediately and call in the professionals for a possible leak inspection.

Fill up your LP or Oil tank

If you fuel your home’s heating with propane or oil, make sure your propane or oil tank is full before winter hits. Some may have their tank filled automatically, but if you don’t, then try to fill up early like July or August, as prices may go up during the colder season.

Protect your family

Before you start running your furnace regularly, you should check your carbon monoxide detectors. Replacing your batteries at the beginning of the season is the safest choice, even if the batteries are not completely dead. Batteries can leak before they die causing damage not only to your carbon monoxide detector(s) but whatever appliance requires batteries, including your HVAC thermostat(s), smoke detectors, alarm clocks, remotes and gas fireplace receiver box or remotes. If the batteries look okay/not leaking, you can use them for something else and be confident your carbon monoxide detector will work through the heating season. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detectors in your home, go out and purchase one now. Similar to a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector will alert you to high levels of this colorless, odorless gas. It’s something almost undetectable by our senses and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and even death.

Schedule your HVAC maintenance appointment

Whether your heating system is in need of repairs after you test it or you want to make sure it’s properly cleaned and serviced for the upcoming season, Virginia Air Heating and Cooling is ready to schedule an appointment for you. We offer emergency heating and cooling service to address your urgent needs. Get in touch today for your maintenance check-up!


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