With the recent cool temperatures in Texas, it’s about time to set the heater running for those winter months. Many times, we can flip the switch and forget to make sure everything is running correctly. Is there anything you’ll need to check when you launch your system into full gear? As it turns out, your heater has a few odds and ends that need inspecting when it’s time to switch it on for a safe and well-maintained home.

Here are three small but very important items to note before you turn on the heater this fall.

1). Check for Smells

The first thing to check on is smell. If you detect the scent of burning dust when you switch on your heater, don’t worry – it’s not uncommon for dust to accumulate on the heater during the spring and summer. Dust burning off your heater when the appliance starts to heat itself up is usually the first thing you may smell when switching on the heat for the first time after the summer. You can air out the smell by opening a few nearby windows open or change the cleaning ducts or filters of your heater.

If you see smoke or fire coming out of the heater, however, shut it off immediately, put out the fire, and call 911. A smell is normal; smoke is a sure-fire sign that you’ll need to be replacing your heater.

2). Use a Carbon Monoxide Detector

The second thing to check when you switch on your heater is the reading on your carbon monoxide detector. If you have not installed a carbon monoxide detector in your home, it’s important to purchase one. Too much carbon monoxide in the home is a lethal hazard. If your detector is over 30 or you hear the alarm going off, shut off your furnace and call an HVAC technician to come and check on it. High levels of carbon monoxide are a home health hazard that needs to be addressed immediately. In fact, it’s best for you to evacuate your home completely if your reading climbs over 30. The seriousness of high carbon monoxide levels cannot be overstated.

3). Detect Unusual Noises

Do you hear any noises coming from your heater? If your heater seems to have difficulty running normally, or you detect strange sounds coming from the airflow, these are signs that your furnace requires an annual check-up. Head to your furnace and check the breaker to see if your unit is getting any power. Your electric heat pump may be running a “defrost cycle” which is when your heater, when its temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, processes a cycle that takes a short time to finish. When the defrost cycle ends, you should be able to turn on your heater again.

4). Hire a Professional Heating Inspection

The safest thing to do when switching your heater on for the first time after the summer is to hire a professional heating inspector to come and take a look at it. Especially if you detect any of the signs above, it’s best to let a technician come in and assess your furnace for you. They’ll be able to tell you – often free of charge – any issues that reside in your furnace and whether you’ll need repairs or replacement or not for the winter.

After you’ve checked everything out, or preferably hired a technician to do the inspection for you, you’ll have a good grasp of whether your furnace runs properly or not. Any electric heating device is a potential hazard, and this especially goes for furnaces. But performing a check-up now can give you peace of mind and bring down the costs of your energy bill before the cooler November and freezing January temperatures set in.

For a safe, professional home furnace inspection, call HH Heating and receive thorough, reliable inspection from our trusted professionals, saving money on your heating bill this winter.