Prep heating system for heating season

It’s “Heat’s On – Water’s Off” Season

It’s “Heat’s On – Water’s Off” Season

In the spring, we often take that extra effort to really clean up and clean out cluttered spaces for some good old fashioned spring cleaning.  But what do you do when autumn rolls around?  Well, may I suggest adding fall inspecting into your annual routine? Fall is the perfect time to inspect your heating system to make sure that all its parts are clean and in working order.   This will help it to operate efficiently and safely for you throughout the heating season.  Spend a little extra time to make your inspection complete and check your pipes, faucets, showerheads, and toilets to make sure they are not leaking.  Even a little leak can cost you a lot of money over time.

Heat's On, Water's Off 2012 - Sonny and Bill

W. L. Gary Company Volunteers with one of the homeowners during "Heat's On - Water's Off" 2012

Inspection of these items is vital to health and safety during winter months.  This is why for the past fifteen years members of Steamfitters Local 602 and Plumbers Local 5 have been volunteering to provide low-income seniors in Prince George’s County with this fall inspection known as “Heat’s On – Water’s Off.”  Every September, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Service Bureau (MSCA) organizes this volunteer event in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Fire Department, Prince George’s County Department of Family Services, Plumbers Local 5, and Steamfitters Local 602.

Gary Team Heat's On Water's Off

W. L. Gary Company Volunteers at "Heat's On - Water's Off" 2012

The Prince George’s County Department of Family Services identifies seniors who are most in need of this “Heat’s On – Water’s Off” service.  A team of volunteers, one plumber and one steamfitter, visits each home and inspects their heating system and plumbing.  Check out the list below to see what they will be checking for and use this as your fall inspection checklist.


Heat’s On

  • Check and change filters – it’s wise to make this a monthly task.  Check your filters and, if they are getting dirty, change them.  Even a little bit of dust can decrease efficiency by up to 10%, which means additional cost on your utility bill.
  • Clean the dirt, dust, and soot off of all the parts of your system – a film of dust or soot on your equipment can cause efficiency and safety issues.
  • Check for cracks or leaks – a crack in a heat exchanger, leak in a vent pipe, a blocked flue, etc. can allow carbon monoxide to leak from the unit into your building.  This is an important step since CO is an odorless and deadly gas.  If you are unsure of how to check for these leaks, call a professional HVAC contractor to assist you.
  • install or change batteries on carbon monoxide detector - prep for heatingCheck or install a CO detector – like a smoke detector, a CO detector in your building can save lives, so be sure they are present in your building.  If you already have CO detectors in your building, be sure to change the batteries to make sure they are working.
  • Check and tighten all electrical connections – loose connections can be major safety issues and even efficiency issues.  Have a professional who understands your system perform this task.
  • Check the humidifier and humidity level setpoints – check to make sure that the humidifier is in good working condition.  Check the humidity level setpoints to make sure they are set at a good level to keep your building occupants comfortable.
  • Calibrate thermostat – it is a good idea to have your thermostat calibrated to make sure that your thermostat is reflecting the proper temperature of the space.  This will help keep your occupants comfortable and your system efficient.

*If you are unfamiliar with how to perform any of the above tasks, consult a trained HVAC professional to help ensure your safety and the longevity of your equipment.

Water’s Off 

  • Check Water HeaterCheck faucets and showerheads for leaks
  • Check toilets – check to see if they are running, silently wasting your water.
  • Check all visible pipes for leaks
  • Check and clean water heater – check your water heater and connecting pipes for leaks.  Flush sediment from the bottom of the tank at least once a year to prolong the life of the heater.
  • Winterize hose bibs – if you are done with your hoses, now is a good time to turn off the water and winterize your hose bibs.
  • Check and clean areaway drains – make sure there are no leaves or other objects or debris blocking your areaway drains.

If you need assistance with any of these tasks, please contact our Service Department at 202-723-0676 or to set up a time for one of our trained technicians to help you with these important fall inspection items.   Don’t let the cold catch you off guard, make sure you’re ready for the time when Heat’s On – Water’s Off!

heat's on, water's off Saturday, September 28, 2013

This year’s “Heat’s On – Water’s Off” service day is September 28.  Check out pictures here!

Categories: Energy Solutions, HVACR, Plumbing

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