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3 Things to Do Before Turning on your Heat This Fall

Temperatures in Phoenix are finally starting to drop (yay!), and it’s just about time to turn off the AC and turn on the heat.

BUT, if you want to save money on heating bills and potential repairs, there are a few small tasks you should complete before you make the transition to heat.

Before turning your heat on this fall, you should:

Let’s look at each of these tips in more detail, below.

Tip #1: Check your air filter

This tip is simple, but it has a big impact on how efficiently your heating system can run.

If your air filter is clogged with dirt and debris, it will struggle to pull in air from your home, which will impact how much heated air your system can produce.

Depending on how long you let your system run with a dirty air filter in place, you could cause severe damage to your system (which means more money out of your pocket).

Okay, so how do I know if my air filter is dirty?

Dirty Air Filter

Example of a clean air filter (left) and a dirty air filter (right)

Great question! Your air filter is in place to collect dirt, so if you notice a thin layer of dirt or debris, your air filter is fine.

However, if your air filter looks like the one on the right (pictured above), it’s time to replace it. Going forward, you should check your air filter every 1-2 months and replace it if dirty.

Tip #2: Test your thermostat

Your thermostat essentially works as the “manager” of your heating system. It reads the temperature of your home and tells your heating system when to turn on to meet the desired temperature you’ve set.

That being said, you’ll want to make sure your thermostat is set correctly.

Before you turn your heating system on...

1. Check to ensure that your thermostat has batteries

This sounds obvious, but if your thermostat runs out of batteries, your heating system will have no signal telling it to turn on. While refilling batteries is an easy fix, it’s better to be prepared than to go without heat when it’s cold out.

2. Ensure that the fan is set to AUTO not ON

When the FAN is set to AUTO, it will only blow air into your home when that air has been heated.

When the FAN is set to ON, it will blow air regardless of whether it is heated or not.

Ultimately, this can cause discomfort in your home (cool air circulating) and a blower motor that is running constantly, which can lead to expensive repairs.

So, you’ll want to make sure the FAN setting on your thermostat is set to AUTO before your turn your heat on.

On vs. Auto

3. Thermostat set to HEAT not COOLING

This happens more than you think! Your thermostat has likely been in cooling mode for the last 6-7 months, so it’s easy to forget. To ensure your system is running properly, check to make sure the thermostat is set to HEAT, not COOL.

Cool vs. Heat Setting Thermostat

Tip #3: Schedule maintenance with a professional

The most important thing you can do to get your system ready for heating season is to schedule maintenance with a professional.


Well, let’s think about it this way. If for some reason you had left your car in the driveway for the last 6 months and then decided to drive it across the country, would you just get in your car and start driving? Or would you take your car to get washed, the oil changed, tires checked, etc.?

Probably the latter.

Your heating system is no different. During the winter, your heat pump or furnace works hard to heat your home, and if there are parts that are damaged or getting old, it won’t run as efficiently as it should.

A heating system that isn't running as efficiently leads to 2 problems:

  1. Increased energy bills, because your heating system has to work longer than it should to produce the same temperature.
  2. Increased likelihood that you’ll be paying for an expensive repair or replacement in the near future.

On the other hand, when you hire a professional to come take a look at your system (before it’s working constantly), they will make sure that everything is in working order and provide recommendations on what needs to be repaired or updated.

Although this may cost you a little bit upfront for the maintenance visit and potential repairs, it will save you in the long run on monthly energy bills and “surprise” breakdowns.

Interested in maintenance? Check out the services we offer as part of our maintenance plan.