With temperatures dipping into the 20s and 30s this week, many Iowans have switched on their furnaces. Wade Mayfield, owner of a heating and cooling repair business in Omaha-Council Bluffs, says homeowners need to do a few basic things to their furnaces to make sure they’ll be toasty warm during the chilly nights.

“They haven’t looked at their unit for sometime, the filters are dirty, there’s just a lack of basic homeowner maintenance,” Mayfield says. “It’s always a good idea to turn it on a little early before you need it to make sure there isn’t a problem and so you don’t get hit with that demand service call when everybody’s at their peak.”

Mayfield says Iowans should make a trip around the house to make sure all the vents are open. “Supply registers around your house that maybe in the cooling season, you turned them off or in the basement to try and push cold air upstairs, we need to make sure all of those are opened up so the warm air can rise throughout the house,” Mayfield says. “Some of the return grills that are on the wall, make sure the furniture is moved away from them so the duct system can pull air back through itself.”

He says furnaces and heat pump systems can be buggy. “The biggest thing we run into when somebody turns on their system for the first time, or even after it starts to run for a while, they’ll cycle on-and-off, on-and-off a bunch,” Mayfield says. “It can tell us there’s a problem in the controls or there’s a plugged evaporator coil or something like that that’s awry.”

If your system is equipped with a humidifier, it may need to be switched on for the season. Mayfield says if you have a heat pump, look outside and make sure the coils are cleaned out and there is no debris around the unit to prevent it from getting the air it needs to work properly.