How Often Should You Have Your Heater Inspected?
The heater in your home is an essential part of both comfort and safety. Protecting the home from extreme cold temperatures in the winter months is something all homes should b equipped for. Of course, heaters are like any home appliance; they still need the occasional inspection and maintenance. Heaters need to be kept clean, internally and externally, and many types of heaters need to be monitored to ensure they remain safe inside the home.
It’s important for your heater to be in top condition before the cold season blows in each year, but how often is really practical to get your heater inspected? No doubt, you’ve heard everything from “inspect twice a year like clockwork” to “Our heater’s been fine un-inspected for decades.” What is the right frequency of inspections to keep your home safe without going over the top?
Today, we’re here to help with more than a few tips on timing your heater inspections for the best value to the home.
How Often Should Your Heater Be Inspected?
- Twice a Year
- Every 2-5 Years
- Break-Fix Repairs
How frequent should heater inspection be for your home? It depends on a few varying factors. If your home uses heat a great deal, relies on heat heavily in the winter, or has a finicky heater design – then an inspection every 6 months is not out of the question. Just like going to the dentist so frequently, this preventative work will ensure that any to all problems are caught early and prevented.
For most people, we would broadly recommend annual heater inspections, timed during the early autumn or late spring. Annual heater inspections ensure that your heater is in good condition from year to year and that you never go longer than a year without discovering a lurking problem. It is also a responsible way to own a heater, either warming it up or putting it away each year.
Climate and Importance of the Heater
How often your heater needs to be inspected is also influenced by climate. The amount of use, stress, and importance of your heater during the cold months of the year.
Cold Winters: Inspect Every 6-12 Months
In regions where it snows inches to feet every year, and annual winter storms are the norm, heaters are a vital piece of household equipment. You want your heater inspected at least once a year, maybe twice a year, to ensure the heater is in good condition when you need it – every time you need it.
Mild Winters: Inspect Annually
If you see frost every winter, the heater is still important for keeping the family safe during the yearly freeze. For furnaces, gas heaters, and boilers – common in these regions – you will want an annual inspection with maintenance. This ensures your heater is in good shape and ready to fire back up. Some small malfunctions like a clogged flue or loose seal can be dangerous to the entire house.
An annual inspection ensures your heater is safe to use and/or safe to put away every year.
No Winter: Inspect Every 2-5 Years
Homes in warm climates that see very little winter have homes designed for less heater use. The home HVAC usually features electric-only heaters, and the heaters sometimes aren’t used at all in a year. In these climates, you should schedule an inspection every two to five years – whether it seems like you need it or not.
In this case, the inspection ensures your filter is clean, your wires are aging well, and there’s not too much dust in the system before you fire it up for a cold winter.
The Type of Heater in Your Home
Some heaters need more maintenance than others. Boilers, gas heaters, and furnaces are all potentially dangerous if poorly maintained, and therefore should be inspected regularly to make sure they are still safe to run. Lying dormant during the summer may allow a heater to fall into disrepair, as can constant use during the winter.
Electric heaters require less maintenance as they do not use volatile materials, but still need to be inspected periodically to clear dust, check fans, and ensure the quality of the wires and elements inside.
Seasonal Safe Maintenance
Before Switching the Heater Each Year
You know the burning-dust smell when you turn on the heater for the first time every year? That’s the mildest possible problem that the first heat-up can cause. Clogged flues, gad and pilot light issues, sediment in your boiler, and frayed wires can all potentially cause disaster in the first cold month of the year.
Getting an inspection before your first use of the heater is a smart move to ensure safety, and that heat will be there when you need it.
Before Shutting Down the Heater in Spring
Some types of heater (and older heaters) should be shut down and maintained at the end of each cold season. Your furnace can be cleaned out, checked, and closed for the summer so that it’s ready to go again next fall. Boilers can be cleared of debris and oil buildup before sitting unused for months. Old appliances can be checked to see if the winter season did any wear-and-tear damage.
Make Use of a Warranty
Often, heater installations come with a handy warranty. The warranty may just be for product quality, but it might include discounted or complimentary maintenance for the first few years of ownership. If you have a warranty for maintenance, make use of it. Your HVAC pros make these offers for a reason – to give you the best possible heater performance and extend the overall lifespan of the heater with good early maintenance.
Dual-Purpose AC and Heater Inspections
Last but not least, remember that your heater inspections can be a full-service HVAC inspection and maintenance visits. HVAC inspections in the spring can get your AC ready for summer and put your heater away after a winter of hard work. Inspections in the fall can make sure your AC is in good shape after a hot summer and prepare your heater to fire up before the first truly cold night of the year.
How frequently should you have a heater inspected? The best answer is about once a year, no matter what climate you live in. This ensures that no issues are overlooked for longer than a year. If you have extreme weather or a high-maintenance heating system, schedule twice a year inspections instead. Time your one or two visits with the most important season for your home – either before the winter chill or before the summer heat.
If you’d like more advice on heater maintenance or to schedule an inspection for your home heating system, contact us today.