Get your furnace and ducts professionally cleaned

A man vacuums a heating vent on the flooriStockTurning on the furnace for the first time in the fall can make your home smell musty. That’s because all the dust and other particles that have built up during normal operation as well as during the summer downtime get stirred up and sent airborne from vents. This is not only a potential health hazard for those with allergies and respiratory illness; it also affects the efficiency of your heating system by making it work harder to circulate the warm air.

Avoid such problems by getting your furnace and ducts (if you have forced-air heating) professionally cleaned once a year. Cleaners flush the system using a high-pressure vacuum system, which will remove most of the dust and blockages.

In between cleanings, make sure to change the filter every few months to optimize air flow. And keep furniture away from vents and air intakes.

Clean baseboard heaters

A sunny window above an electric baseboard heaterDust and misplaced items can affect the performance of your electric baseboards or hot-water heating system. Vacuum baseboard heaters regularly. Maintain optimal air flow by keeping furniture and drapery away from baseboard heaters. Thick carpet can also impede them from functioning optimally; there should be 2 cm of clearance between the carpet and the bottom of the heater.