Most of the homes in the United States have gas-forced air units as a heating source. In the Northeast, they started with hot water or steam heating and many have kept it. Steam heating is getting rare, but most of us can remember it by picturing the banging on the pipes we’ve seen in old movies. Steam heat is noisier and takes longer as a heating source.
Hot water heat is still desired by many today due to the fact it is a radiant heat that flows out across a room, providing a warmer feeling of comfort than a gas forced air unit. Additionally, a hot water unit will run quieter than most other technologies.
Let’s take a look at some pre-winter maintenance tips for a hot water heating system.
Professional Tune-Up: The overall annual checkup should be done by a professional, but there are some items a homeowner can address.
Draining the Build Up: Hot Water Heating Systems tend to build up sludge through rust and mineral deposits. A homeowner should drain these occasionally, either by themselves or ensuring it is part of your professional tune-up.
This entails draining a bucket or two of water from the system. First, turn off the system and shut down the water intake. Let cool for an hour or two, then position a bucket under the drain valve and carefully open the drain. Allow water to drain until sediment disappears and water is draining out clean.
If water does not clear after a bucket or two, we recommend calling us to schedule professional maintenance. We will then flush your system as needed. If water does not flow from the drain after opening, it may be necessary to open your vacuum-breaker plug. Note: Not all furnaces have one, so calling us for a tune-up at this point might be your best option.
Finally, bleed the radiators. Just like a brake job on that ’69 Camaro, air will get trapped inside the lines and bleeding will release it. Place a pan under the bleed valve, open the valve and release the air until water comes out. Your bleed valve will open with a screwdriver or a radiator key. If it is a key, it can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Draining and bleeding your hot water radiant heat system are two of the tasks a homeowner can complete. After that, or before if you prefer, give Healthy Home Heating & Cooling LLC a call to schedule your annual tuneup.
Next, let’s take a look at keeping your hot water heater up and running. Each fall we recommend you go through some general items for your hot water heater. Make sure items are clear by at least 2-3 feet from your hot water heater. Do not store paint on or near your furnace and/or hot water heater. Keep your units manual handy so you can properly drain a portion of the water every year.
Many of our clients have found that scheduling the annual maintenance for both their furnace and hot water heater allowed our professionals to provide both services in one stop. Call us today to schedule a visit.