As the weather gets colder, homeowners need to make sure their home heating systems are ready for the rigors of another long winter. There are plenty of ways they can do that – some by themselves, others with professionals involved – but getting it done before the truly cold weather settles in is a must for any house.

The first thing to do when attempting to test a home heating system is head down to where the furnace is and check out its air filters, according to Service Champions. Experts recommend that this should be done about once a month, and if they’re looking particularly dirty, they should be swapped out. However, the absolute maximum time between replacing the filters is, in most cases, going to be no longer than three months.

Other DIY Efforts

Likewise, it’s a good idea to test a thermostat – especially older models – to make sure it can be easily adjusted to whatever temperature is necessary. Those whose home heating systems are a bit older might want to consider installing a “smart” thermostat to give themselves even more responsive control over their homes’ temperature.

Homeowners should inspect the outside-facing doors and windows carefully for any cracks or fissures. If found – and given many homes have enough small cracks to add up to the size of an open window – patching them can be a great way to increase home heating efficiency.

When to Call in a Pro

Most people don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with these kinds of systems themselves, and in certain situations, it might be a bit dangerous to tackle repairs or maintenance, even with the help of an online guide or how-to video, according to Home Advisor HomeSource. When a job seems particularly daunting, it’s wise to simply call in an HVAC expert.

For many this may feel like a less cost-effective option, however, one must consider the trade-off between that initial cost versus those that arise from fixing things incorrectly, then having both the initial problem and the mistakes repaired. That comes in addition to the obvious safety risks that come with fixing a furnace with little experience or know-how. It’s also worth considering that, for new homes with potential heating problems, there may be some fixes that end up voiding the furnace’s warranty, which can be even more costly.

Though there are plenty of home repair projects that can be easy to fix with only a little research or experience, a home heating system is not something to experiment with. Instead, it’s vital for people to make sound decisions about these kinds of repairs because of the expense and danger involved, as well as the potential for disrupting the comfort of their homes if something doesn’t go as planned. As with many other things, it’s important to use common sense when it comes to home heating maintenance.

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