Some good tips for maintaining an efficient heating system and keeping your radiators in top form for 2015. Original Article Link

There are a few things you as a home owner can do to improve the performance of your heating system while other things should be left to a professional heating contractor.

Here are a few things you can do yourself:

  • Replace or clean your air filter in a forced hot air furnace or heat pump.  This should be done about once per month during the season to prevent dust from blocking the air flow.  If the filter is dirty is puts more strain on the blower which increases your electric bill.  If you’re unsure as to wear the filter is ask the technician who last serviced the unit to show you.  Write down the size of the filter so you can stock up on a pack of filters instead of buying them individually.
  • Keep radiators, registers and baseboards clean and unblocked.  You’ll want to make sure they are not blocked by furniture and remove dust frequently.  It is recommended not to cover radiators.
  • Bleed trapped air from radiators.  When air is in your hot water system it ends up in the radiators at the top of the house, causing those to be less efficient or cold because water isn’t being heated in those radiators.  Have a technician show you how to bleed the air out.  There is a valve on the radiator that allows you to open it with a special key.  Turn the key slightly to vent out the air. Have a bucket or cup ready to catch any water that may begin to flow. Turn valve off as soon as all the air is out and water starts to flow. Be careful. The water can be hot.
  • For steam boilers, drain sediment. The sediment should be removed every 3 weeks during the winter.  If you haven’t done it before, schedule a technician to service the boiler and ask him or her to show how to do it.  Basically, it involves draining a bucket of water from the boiler.  Sediment insulates a boiler from the burner’s flame which will cause some heat to go up the chimney instead of in your house.

If you heat with oil, have your heating system cleaned, and checked once a year.  If you have a gas system, once every two years is recommended for service, and with heat pumps, every two to three years.

If you take care of your heating system it will take care of you.  Maintaining it will prolong its use, reduce heating bills and costly repairs, and reduce the amount of carbon monoxide, smoke, and other harmful emissions from fossil-fuelled furnaces.