If you’re one of the many homeowners that neglect the heating system in your home until cold weather hits and it’s time to crank up the heat, you’re not getting the maximum functionality out of your heating system. Improve your heating system’s winter performance by treating it to some TLC.

It is recommended by the manufacturer that your heating system receives annual maintenance in order for it to operate at the highest standard. Your heating system should be serviced regularly by a professional HVAC technician, to keep it running efficiently throughout the year.

It is important at the beginning of the heating season to bleed radiators or replace filters. If your house has hot-water radiators, you probably know that you need to “bleed” them to let air out of the system. Start by heating up the boiler with the circulator pump running. Open the valve on each radiator, and catch the water with a container as it flows out. Once the air is no longer coming out, only water, close that valve and move onto the next one.

If you have a forced air system that blows air throughout your house, it’s vital that you actively change the air filters in your furnace. HVAC experts recommend that you do this every 4-6 weeks. This ensures that every component in your furnace is operating within manufacturer’s specifications and that you have the highest indoor air quality while prolonging the life of your furnace.

Safety is key when it comes to the way you coexist with your furnace. Your heater has a flue pipe, which is an open flame beneath the larger components of the furnace. Be intentional about keeping stored items away from the furnace, and reducing the chance for flammable items to cause damage to your heating system and house.

In addition to all this maintenance, it is recommended that you use warm weather systems in your home throughout the year as well. Ceiling fans usually sit idle outside of the hot summer months. HVAC professionals recommend that you use the ceiling fan to better distribute warm air throughout your house. By reversing the motion of the fan, it will cut off the cool air that the blades usually produce, and better circulate the warm air that your furnace works hard to produce.

The bottom line is, don’t ignore your heating system. Be proactive about maintaining it throughout the year, and checking the safety of its surroundings often. Save money on repairs, and overall heating needs by giving your heating system the attention it needs before it’s too late.