How to Make Sure Your Forced-Air Heating System is Working Before Winter Arrives

As winter slowly makes its way into your region, you’ll want to practice routine maintenance on your forced-air heating system to ensure it is ready to take on the cold, blustery nights. A forced-air system is comprised of a furnace or heat pump that circulates air throughout the house via ductwork and vents. It easily regulates the temperature of the home by matching the setting on the thermostat and repeats the process as needed. We reached out to our maintenance experts to learn what you should check before you put your heating system to work.


What to check on your forced-air heating system:

  • Examine and replace the air filters
    • It is best practice to check your air filters on a monthly basis. During that time, if you notice a large accumulation of dust or debris, change your filter right away. To ensure optimal use, replace the filters before a change in seasons, especially when you switch from using the cooling system to the heating.
  • Inspect the ductwork
    • If you notice dust and debris flowing out around air vents, it is possible that you have a clog in the ductwork. Using a flashlight, screwdriver, and sturdy ladder, with someone holding it steady, remove the vent cover and inspect the duct. Shine the flashlight into the ductwork and look for any signs of rodent droppings or mold. If you notice any of the above, you will need to call a professional to diagnose the situation and provide the proper cleaning. Once you have inspected the ductwork, use a damp cloth to remove the dirt around the vent, then thoroughly dry the area, and put the vent cover back into place.
    • Thoroughly check for dust and particulates around the heating coils/lines and furnace areas as this can cause a fire and/or create the burning smell that comes with improper maintenance.
  • Call a professional for a detailed look
    • Although you can check the different elements of your heating system, it is always best practice to hire a professional to inspect all elements of your forced-air heating system. A few things that a professional will evaluate are the furnace combustion chamber, blower, blower belt, and ductwork.