Several tips to follow before flipping that switch from cool to heat

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Summer is officially gone and Old Man Winter is beginning to peek out.

Rodney Dunlap, owner of Repair USA, said there are some important steps you need to take before flipping that switch from cool to heat.

"Being a homeowner," Dunlap said. "The first thing you need to check is to make sure the fire alarms work. And make sure they have a carbon monoxide detector. You want to check the batteries in those. Make sure they're okay. Push the little reset test button. See if it goes off and if the batteries don't seem to work, replace the batteries and get that going."

The next step is to check for gas in the air.

"You want to smell for gas," Dunlap said. "Before you light your furnace up, open your closet door or wherever your furnace is located and see if you smell any gas. If you do, call your gas company or get a service provider over to make sure they check that out before you start the furnace up."

Dunlap said to make sure there's nothing around the furnace that could light up.

"Make sure when you open the furnace door up, around the area of the furnace that there are no combustibles. Which would be like paint or paint thinner. People tend to use that closet to put a lot of things in, like Christmas decorations or paper bags, Walmart bags, plastic bags and things like that. Anything that could be combustible, you want it out and away from that furnace," he said

Once you've performed these steps, Dunlap said it's important call a professional to come out and give your system a good check.

"Then you want to make sure you do a good tune-up every year on the system," Dunlap said. "Call your service provider to make sure they come in and clean the burners, pull and vacuum the burner box, inspect the flue assembly, make sure your filters are clean and that all of the system is operating properly."

Just because the system has sat unused, doesn't mean there isn't a potential issue you need to solve before you light up.

"You make those initial checks," Dunlap said. "Then you have the furnace tune up done and you should be prepared to go through winter safely and not have any problems."

Dunlap also said that just because you have an electrical heating system doesn't mean you shouldn't be mindful.

"You don't have near the dangers you normally would with gas if it's electrical," he said. "But those things still need to be checked because that heating element gets hot. And if there's still anything that's combustible around that, it can catch on fire as well."

Dunlap said you should even have a fireplace checked before you use it.

"If you have a fireplace, you need to make sure the flue assembly is clean," he said. "A lot of times flue assemblies are not clean. That'll cause that flue gas to come back into the house. So, you just want to make sure everything is operating properly."

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