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Get our tips for how to take care of your heating equipment during the transition from fall to winter and throughout the coldest months of the year.

After many months of not worrying about staying warm, it's likely you'll need a refresher on how to maintain your heating equipment during the first cold months of the season. As fall winds its way towards winter, you'll want to make sure everything is ready for the transition from air conditioning to heating. 

Furnace preparation 

During the spring and summer, it's easy to forget about your facility's heater, tucked down away in the basement. Sometimes people even forget what the big machine is for and end up stacking boxes and other materials around the furnace.

Wright State University suggests that the first thing you should do before even thinking of turning the heat on is to inspect the area surrounding the machinery. Are there any combustible items nearby? Is there enough room for maintenance personnel to access the equipment? Clear the area of all obstructions. 

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, summer storms and flooding could potentially cause damage to heating equipment. Because the machines haven't been running, you may not have noticed the damage.

Inspect the outdoor machinery for any signs of environmental wear and tear. If anything sticks out to you, play it safe and get the equipment inspected. Even if there hasn't been a recent storm, an aging heating system might become damaged during the normal course of the year. If your system is over 10 years old, get it inspected. Of course, it's hard to plan maintenance out a decade in advance, but that's where you could really benefit from using a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Important information can easily slip from your long-term memory, but a CMMS never forgets. 

Water system preparation 

The government of Maine — which knows a thing or two about winter preparedness — suggests that the first thing you should do with your water system is to inspect it thoroughly before the first freeze. A frozen pipe could rupture and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, and even more if the freeze happens outside of normal operating hours. Once you're sure there aren't any cracks or leaks in the system, drain any tanks that you won't be using in the winter. 

All outdoor taps should be sealed during the winter to prevent freezing. Lawn-watering systems need to be drained completely. And finally, make sure the outdoor systems are powered off. No sense in draining energy resources on out-of-use equipment. 

During the first few weeks of winter, you should also keep an eye on your utility use. How do this year's bills compare to last year's? Now is the time to catch any inconsistencies and get them sorted out before the really cold weather sets in. Good system preparation and monitoring will ensure that you don't have any costly spikes in your winter energy bills. 

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