Maintaining Heating Solutions in The Off Season

Jamie Tuinstra, Modine Manufacturing

Posted 5/16/24

According to ENERGYSTAR, energy use is the single largest operating expense in buildings, representing approximately one-third of typical operating budgets.  That’s nearly as much as payroll expenses for many businesses. This should urge facility managers to ensure their HVAC equipment is in proper working order in the off-season.  

Neglecting heating system maintenance can quickly result in decreased energy efficiency. When filters become dirty, coils get clogged, or system components wear out, your heating system must exert more effort to maintain the desired temperature. Consequently, energy consumption rises, leading to higher utility bills.

Facility managers would be wise to consider preventive maintenance to prevent future problems and unwanted costs.  Hiring a professional to do an annual check shortly after the heating season is a good way to ensure the system continues to operate at peak performance. 

Contractors’ schedules fill up quickly in the summer so it’s best to check systems during the spring. 

heating system maintenance

Preventive Maintenance Necessities 

By proactively allocating time to ensure that their units are in optimal condition, facility managers can have more confidence knowing they have potentially prevented issues that could occur when it comes time to reactivate the units during colder weather.

In most cases, general maintenance is all that’s required at the end of the heating season. This will help identify and solve any possible issue. 

A licensed professional will follow these steps generally:

  • Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks or rusting.
  • Check the vent pipe for any rusting or blockages. This can include clearing out any bird nests that may have been built inside the vent pipe.
  • Clean the burners on the heating unit.
  • Check the water traps and condensate lines for any dirt or debris, especially on high-efficiency units.

A contractor should also inspect the fan motors at the end of the heating season. With the heating unit running a substantial amount during the winter, the fan motors can get grimy and sustain wear and tear throughout the cold months. Be sure to have those cleaned regularly to help decrease the chances of malfunction.

Updating Heating Systems

While regular maintenance can prolong the lifespan of heating units, some may reach a point where they are no longer salvageable or have exceeded their operational life. In such cases, replacement becomes necessary. 

For facility managers looking to save costs, high-efficiency unit heaters are an excellent option. These units can achieve up to 97% efficiency, depending on the specific model chosen. 

Although the initial upfront and installation costs are higher compared to traditional units, the long-term return on investment can be realized in as little as two to three years due to significant fuel savings.

Additionally, consider implementing a programmable setback thermostat in facilities where heating units are not controlled by a building management system. These thermostats allow precise control over operating times and temperatures. 

By lowering the temperature during periods of facility inactivity, owners can maximize efficiency and minimize fuel consumption.

Responsible Heating Solutions

At the end of the heating season, it’s essential to prepare your heating unit for future use. 

The importance of maintaining a clean system and its components will ensure optimal performance, extend the lifespan of your equipment, and reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns.

Whether you have a traditional heater or a high-efficiency unit, prioritize annual maintenance to avoid operational issues when the next heating season begins.

Considering that buildings are responsible for 40% of total energy use in the United States, including 75% of all electricity use and 35% of the nation’s carbon emissions, proactive maintenance becomes crucial for sustainable and efficient operations.  

By prioritizing heating system maintenance, facility managers not only ensure uninterrupted heating during the winter but also contribute to reducing energy costs and enhancing the overall safety and comfort of the facility. 


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Jamie Tuinstra

Jamie Tuinstra is a product manager at Modine Manufacturing. He has been in the heating and cooling industry for 25 years and with Modine for 16. At Modine, we are engineering a cleaner, healthier world. Building on more than 100 years of excellence in thermal management, we provide trusted systems and solutions that improve air quality and conserve natural resources. More than 11,000 employees are at work in every corner of the globe, delivering the solutions our customers need, where they need them. Our Climate Solutions and Performance Technologies segments support our purpose by improving air quality, reducing energy and water consumption, lowering harmful emissions and enabling cleaner running vehicles and environmentally-friendly refrigerants. Modine is a global company headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin (USA), with operations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. For more information about Modine, visit www.modine.com.

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