5 Things to Know About Your Heater Before a Cold Front Arrives

Have you thought about your heater before the cold front gets to Katy, Texas? If not, you should!

A typical Houston winter is characterized by alternating bone-chilling cold and temperate 70-degree, spring-like weather. And like movie, Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks’ character prophetically shares looking at his box of chocolates, “You never know which one you’re going to get.”

But when the weather turns extreme, it’s helpful to have a heater or furnace that will keep you and your loved ones cozy until the next warm spell. Here’s what you can do to initiate your DIY heater check before the cold front blows through.

Change Your Air Filters

If your air filter(s) are clogged, your heater will not get enough air, and it will make the heating process less efficient. In the worst-case scenario, it will simply cause your heater to shut down and stop working. This air filter may be located in your wall or ceiling (most common). It may be located inside your heating/cooling equipment in a closet or up in the attic. If you are not sure where your filters are located, please ask us. We would be happy to go over your system and show you. See our guide for changing an air filter and see how to wash out air filters if you have a mini-split system.

Air filters need to be swapped out every three months or less. You may need to change them more often depending on your household and if you have pets.

Turn Your Heater On Before the Cold Front Arrives

It might sound like a no-brainer, but you don’t want to find out your heater isn’t working on the coldest evening of the year. If you know that the weather is going to be cold over the weekend, fire up your heater several days before. That way, if anything goes wrong there is time to seek a repair. It beats having to run out to the 24-hour Walmart for a space heater to get you through the night.

ProTip: Often furnaces have a power on/off switch that is easy to trip when you’re up in the attic pulling down holiday decorations and lights. If your heater doesn’t turn on, try that first. 

Check Your Thermostat

If you have a thermostat that runs on batteries, replace them and make a note to replace them regularly on your calendar. Save yourself the hassle of a service call for a $3 pack of batteries. You may laugh at this, but it happens way more often than you would believe.

Check on Safety Precautions

Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are important safety mechanisms when using heating appliances in the home – from furnaces and electric heat to cooking in your kitchen. The newer furnaces have even more safety features than ever before, but having working fail-safe carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home is something we highly recommend. These can help prevent accidental fires like this one and this one in the Houston area. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors can be found at your favorite home improvement or hardware store, and they generally last about five years. Combination units that detect both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are available.

If you don’t have carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, we would be happy to bring one or both and install them on our next visit. Some require batteries, some are hardwired, and some can simply be plugged into an outlet. We always carry them on our service trucks.

Schedule Regular Maintenance on Your Heater

If you haven’t had your furnace, heat pump or heater inspected by an HVAC professional in years, you should add this to your list to do BEFORE a cold front gets to town. We generally recommend a heater check once a year. Don’t wait until your system breaks down and makes you uncomfortable. A licensed HVAC technician can tell you how your system is operating, if any minor maintenance is needed, and what you may need to know if replacement is coming soon or is years away. The peace of mind you gain knowing your home is going to be toasty before Jack Frost arrives is PRICELESS.

Let Us Help Keep Your Heater in Tip-Top Shape

Get in touch with the heating and cooling experts at Terry’s A/C & Heating, a trusted Ruud ProPartner, which serves Far West Houston and across Fort Bend County including Richmond, Katy, Cinco Ranch, Sugar Land, and Fulshear. Summer Terry is standing by at (281) 495-7830, to schedule your heater check, an expert repair or prepare a quote for a new furnace or heater! See our latest specials right now, and find out why customers are so happy with the service we provide. We want to be your indoor comfort concierge, ready to spring into action to give you our best advice for keeping your home or business comfortable all year long.