Getting Your Heating System Ready for Winter

The temperatures are beginning to drop in California as winter rolls in for the next few months. While our weather doesn’t get nearly as frigid as in other places, native Californians still like to turn on the furnace now and then to keep the chill away.

After a long summer of running your AC unit, you shouldn’t jump right into using your furnace without some preparation. Without some cleaning and precaution, you might go to turn on the heat, only to discover that your system isn’t working at all.

Follow these few simple steps to get your furnace winter-ready and to see if you’ll need last-minute furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

Test it well in advance

It isn’t smart to turn your furnace on for the first time this year when the temperatures reach absolutely chilly levels. You should test your furnace’s functionality before it gets too cold, so you’ll have time to address any issues that arise before you truly need the heat.

Call for maintenance

One of the most important parts of getting your furnace prepped for a long winter of regular use is to have it tuned up by an HVAC professional. During a furnace maintenance visit, a professional can visit your home, inspect your furnace for problems and signs of wear, replace broken parts, clean the system of dust and dirt and replace your air filter. All of these items are important for your furnace to run efficiently, or even run at all. Once maintenance is done, your furnace should be clean and ready to operate.

It’s a good idea to call for a maintenance appointment in advance, as well. These professionals tend to get busy nearer the winter months because lots of people begin calling for maintenance and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

When it’s time to turn the heat on

When you finally decide you want to kick on the heat (and after you’ve had your furnace looked over), make sure all the vents in your home are open. To achieve the best heating results, move all furniture and objects away from the vents for optimal airflow.

Then, flick your thermostat from “cool” to “heat” and set the temperature a little higher than the current temperature of your house. Within a few minutes, your furnace should kick on and you should hear it running. Check that warm air is blowing out of your vents.

When you run your furnace for the first time after summer, you should stick around and pay attention to it to make sure nothing is going wrong. Listen for any strange clicking or banging noises, and be cautious if you identify any strange smells.

Get furnace help when you need it

If you turn on your furnace this winter and it won’t start, or it sputters out after a few hours, call the heating experts at McGee Refrigeration. We can provide same-day and 24/7 emergency service for furnace repair in Visalia, CA to keep you and your family comfortable and safe this winter.

Furnace or Heat Pump: Which Is Best?

When you think about the available heating solutions in an average home, the first thing you think of is likely to be a furnace. However, a furnace is not the only option you have available to you when it comes to heating systems. Heat pumps are another option, and depending on your home, they may be able to provide you with some significant energy savings.

Here is some information about these two options, from a company specializing in heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

Operational differences

The vast majority of homes you’ll find in North America are heated with a forced air furnace of some type, usually one that’s powered with gas or electricity. A gas furnace has a sealed-up combustion chamber that generates heat, and electric furnaces have heating elements similar to the ones you’d find in an electric space heater, just scaled up to accommodate a much larger space. In each of these circumstances, there will be a fan that provides circulation over the heating elements and pushes the air through a series of vents in the home to deliver that heat.

A forced air heat pump does not actually produce any heat, but instead pulls heat out of the outdoor air, even if it’s cold outside. The heat gets condensed and then pushed through a fan system and into the home.

Other types of heat pumps use geothermal energy rather than trying to take the warm air out of the outdoor air, but this isn’t typically an option in most parts of the country.

Making the right decision

So what factors do you need to take into account when deciding whether you’ll get a furnace or a heat pump?

The biggest factor is the climate in which you live. If you have a mild winter, you’ll benefit much more from a heat pump in terms of energy efficiency. This is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular alternative to furnaces here in California—even in the northern parts of the state, it never gets particularly frigid.

Compare this to seriously cold environments such as many parts of the Midwest, in which heat pumps will have to go into overdrive to have any chance of keeping up. While there may be an auxiliary heat source that will kick in when it gets really cold, this still is going to be less efficient than a furnace in this circumstance.

If you live in the right environment, it’s not just the energy efficiency that will give you a big benefit. Heat pumps can also be used in reverse to cool the home, pulling air from inside your house and pushing it outside. This means it can be an effective sort of air conditioning system as well, though you’ll have to do a better job of staying on top of maintenance since you’ll be using the same system all year long.

For more information about your options for home heating, contact McGee Refrigeration about heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.