Fall is here and winter is not far behind. Now is the time to perform preventive maintenance on your HVAC unit and make any necessary repairs before the snow starts to fall. By completing heating system repairs and maintenance now, you can avoid costly breakdowns this winter and save money by increasing your HVAC unit’s performance and efficiency. Stay warm and cozy all winter long by following this comprehensive HVAC winter prep checklist.
1. Replace Air Filters
One of the easiest and most important things you can do to lessen the strain on your HVAC system is to change the air filters regularly. As a general rule of thumb, you should change your air filter every 30 to 90 days, or more often if you have pets or family members with allergies. Check the filter monthly to see if it appears clogged. If so, replace it. Also, consider upgrading to pleated air filters which trap smaller particles.
2. Listen for Sounds
At the start of the heating season, turn on your heating system and run a sound check. Certain sounds, such as banging or rattling, could indicate different problems such as loose or broken components. By recognizing these issues early on, you can hire an HVAC repair professional to remedy the problem before it becomes more expensive.
3. Check Vents and Ductwork
Leaks in your ductwork can result in lower efficiency as your heating system is forced to work harder to make up for air loss. Both vents and ductwork can also become dirty and obstructed, lowering efficiency and causing a safety hazard. Make sure that your vents and ductwork are free from obstructions before the start of the heating season.
4. Clear Away Clutter
Inside your home, remove any clutter away from your furnace. There should be several feet of open space around the proximity of the unit. If you also have an outdoor unit, remove any shrubs, plants, or tree branches that may be in close proximity to the unit. Look inside the unit and remove any fallen leaves or twigs. Ensure that all components are clean and are able to run without interference.
5. Test Carbon Monoxide Detectors
One of the most important steps of HVAC winter preparation is the checking of carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be harmful when breathed in. Check to make sure that all carbon monoxide detectors in your home are in good working order. If necessary, replace the batteries.
6. Have an Inspection Performed
The average homeowner does not have the experience or knowledge needed to thoroughly inspect an HVAC system. Hire an expert who can perform a detailed analysis of your system’s performance and efficiency to ensure that everything is running at peak capacity. Annual inspections are recommended to remedy minor repairs before they become more serious.
7. Check for Drafts
While a drafty window or door may seem like a mere incontinence, it can actually be damaging to your HVAC unit. As cold air enters your home and warm air escapes, your heating unit must run more often to keep up with the demand. This can result in higher energy bills and a shortened life expectancy of your heating unit. By fully insulating all areas in your home, you can significantly save on your energy bills.
8. Test the Thermostat
Most people never think to test their thermostat. Before the start of the heating system, take a few days to test the thermostat and check for responsiveness. Each day, turn on the heat and see how long it takes to turn on and reach the desired temperature. Also, make sure that each register is releasing warm air. If the heat takes too long to turn on or reach the desired temperature, have your thermostat checked.
9. Clean Vents and Registers
Dirt and dust can collect in vents and registers over the summer months. When you turn your heat on for the first time, you may find that the airflow is inadequate due to an accumulation of debris. Take the time to vacuum out any dust and pet hair from the previous season. Continue to clean vents and registers on a regular basis throughout the winter to avoid a buildup.
10. Check for Physical Damage
While unlikely, physical damage can occur over the summer months unexpectedly. Before turning on your heat for the first time, thoroughly inspect your heating unit for signs of physical damage, such as damage to the fans, sheet metal, wiring, vent systems, gas pipes, or equipment supports. If you find damage, call for HVAC repair before using your system.
11. Clean Condenser Coils
The air filters are not the only thing that needs to be cleaned before winter strikes. Your air conditioner unit’s condenser coils will also need a detailed cleaning. As this system is generally located outdoors, it can easily become clogged with dirt, dust, leaves, grass, and pet hair. As the coil’s job is to transfer heat from indoors, an accumulation of debris can cause its performance to drop. Take the time to carefully clean the coils.
12. Program Your Thermostat
First of all, if you do not yet own a programmable thermostat, invest in one. A programmable thermostat will allow you to set your home’s temperature back 5 to 10 degrees as you sleep, work, or spend time away from home. The thermostat can also be set to turn back on before returning home for optimal comfort. A programmable thermostat can save you a significant amount of money on energy bills during the winter months.
Winter is coming. How do you plan to prepare? Before flipping the switch from cool to heat, take the necessary precautions and prepare your HVAC system for the chilly temperatures to come. Check off each task on this HVAC winter prep checklist in the fall so that your home will be warm and cozy when the temperatures start to drop. If you need assistance with HVAC repair or maintenance, contact Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today for a free estimate.