The gradual approach of winter always comes with a false sense of security as warm days linger. Then, one day, there’s a chill in the air that never leaves. Yet if there is a positive about winter, it’s the chance to fire up the heater! But you also want to be sure you’re ready and know just how to prepare your gas heating correctly.
The health and safety of your heating system are vital. A gas leak, clogged filters or faulty pilot flame could all lead to a range of issues, big or small.
To avoid them all, it’s always best to inspect and service a gas heater before regularly using it in winter. There are a few easy things you can do yourself, like cleaning, a few important tasks a licensed gas fitter and technician should take care of.
This is how you can prepare your gas heating for winter.
How You Can Prepare Your Gas Heating
Clean Your Heater
Regardless of the type of heater you own, it’s best to always keep it clean. Dust, dirt, pet fur and more will all build up over time, and will likely impact performance. Clogged filters in a gas ducted system also pose a health risk as allergens are spread throughout the home.
For a gas log fire, space heater or wood fireplace, gently use a soapy, damp cloth to wipe the surface. Alternatively, a vacuum cleaner is also perfect for removing dust or debris.
You can also use a can of compressed air to blow through any narrow gaps or holes.
Meanwhile, reverse cycle split systems and many smaller gas space heaters also include filters that need to be cleaned at least every 3 months. Split system filters are often the easiest to clean as they simply pop out once the air con’s cover has been removed.
Filters only need to be rinsed and soaked in soapy water or can be vacuumed. Make sure they’re always fully dried before placing them back in the unit.
Visually Inspect the System
One simple task you can achieve is visually inspecting the heater to make sure it is winter safe. Often the small signs of damage are what we take for granted the most. But a tiny issue could easily evolve into a larger one.
During a visual inspection of your gas heater, check to see if there are:
- Soot stains or discolouration
- Cracks or damage in the heater/heat exchanger
- Signs of corrosion, including holes
And if you do feel confident enough to fire up a unit like a gas log fire, inspect the pilot light. The flame should be a strong blue rather than a weak yellow/orange colour. If the pilot flame does appear to be struggling, it will need to be serviced.
Also, be sure to use your nose. Contact a professional for an inspection if burning odours continue. Likewise, always act quickly and contact a professional gas fitter if you do smell gas.
How a Licensed Technician Will Prepare Your Gas Heating
Provide a Thorough Gas Heater Service
A professional heater service provides additional peace of mind. Some of it will crossover with what you can do on your own, though. For example, an expert will also perform a visual inspection for damage, but with more detail.
They can inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, while also calling on expertise to check the pilot flame, pilot injector, fan, main burner and any hoses or fittings. A licensed technician will also use the appropriate tools to assess the health of the flue system for blockages, corrosion or other damage. Therefore, if anything is wrong, they can promptly repair the fault.
Another key part of the process includes gas leak detection and a carbon monoxide detection test.
Protect Your Home Against Carbon Monoxide and Gas Leaks
Faulty gas heaters, and gas appliances more generally, are at risk of producing and releasing too much carbon monoxide (CO) during the combustion process. If the CO is not properly flued, the odourless gas can cause negative health side effects. Potential concerns include nausea, dizziness, headaches and fatigue. It can also be fatal in high concentrations or with prolonged exposure.
Meanwhile, a gas leak can lead to similar side effects, although the recognisable rotten egg smell means it is typically more noticeable. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a risk. A gas heater should be serviced and tested by a licensed gas fitter at least every two years.
In addition to a service, a carbon monoxide detector can also be installed. Also known as a CO alarm, it detects any CO leakage using various methods, such as a biomimetic sensor, electrochemical sensor or metal oxide semiconductor.
A carbon monoxide detector can be a standalone product or a two-in-one alongside a smoke alarm.
How Jim’s Plumbing Gas Fitters Can Help You
For a professional gas heater service, Jim’s Plumbing is the team for you. Our licensed technicians will provide a certificate of compliance on completion, leaving you with a true sense of security. We’re available for emergency repairs and general seasonal maintenance. Just contact us to learn more about our gas heating services.