Fall HVAC Maintenance
Being proactive about seasonal maintenance of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can save you money in the long run. Preventative maintenance can prolong the life of your HVAC units and help avoid major issues. The fall is a great time for clean-up and inspection of both the indoor and outdoor units of your system and can help avoid surprises when the first time comes to use the heat.
Plant growing season slows down in the fall so it is a good time for a healthy trimming of any foliage around the outdoor unit. You can also remove any twigs and leaves and hose off the summer dust and debris. Once the outdoor unit is clean, you can cover it. Best to use a cover specifically designed for that purpose so it protects from snow and pests but also allows moisture to escape.
There are a number of indoor things you can do to prepare your HVAC system for fall and the following winter. This is an excellent time to check that your carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly and to replace the batteries in them as well as in your smoke detectors. You can also put away any storage items left near the furnace so the area around the indoor unit is clear to not only allow proper functioning, but also to reduce fire risks.
You should clean the condensate drain, trap, and pan, and if you have them as a part of your HVAC system, switch from the dehumidifier to the humidifier. Remember to turn on the water supply, clean the humidifier and change the water panel to make sure it operates at full efficiency. You should also replace the humidifier filter.
A dirty air filter impedes air circulation. Replace the air filter to maintain efficiency and wipe down or vacuum the cover to the air filter as well as the vents and air returns throughout the house. This will keep pet hair and dust from either blocking air flow or from getting into the air that is being circulated through the house. Truly, with the house closed up for a period of time, it is best to do this several times throughout the fall and winter months.
The time when you are preparing to switch from air conditioning to heat is also a great time to adjust the supply registers. If vents had been closed in lower levels during air conditioner season, reverse the process for the heating season. Open the vents on lower floors and close a few on upper floors since heated air will rise after it is pushed into the house.
You can also use ceiling fans in conjunction with your heating system to help circulate the warm air and keep it from settling at the top of rooms. Fall is also a great time to wipe down the blades of the fans to avoid putting more dust into the air being circulated throughout the house.
Of course, homeowners can handle a number of these fall maintenance and preparation tasks, but there are some things best left to experienced professionals.
If your home is still regulated by an older thermostat, have a new, programmable one installed. Smart thermostats allow you to remotely adjust the temperature of your home or set customized schedules to keep costs down. Another energy and money saver is to see whether your attic insulation is sufficient or lacking and have the attic fully insulated to keep hot air from escaping if need be.
The end of summer air conditioning season is also a great time to schedule a proactive maintenance visit. The HVAC professional will check for leaks and check the condition of moving parts such as the belts and motor. He will also tighten any loose electrical connections, check all switches, and ensure that there is proper airflow being produced by your system. The service person will also check fluid levels, depending on the type of unit, so that everything is ready to go when the first chilly morning comes along.
If you need to replace an older HVAC unit, fall is the ideal time to do so. It is a slower time of year for HVAC companies so it will be easier to schedule the installation than it would be to call for an emergency visit during the busier winter season. This also gives you the summer to research contractors in your area and systems that will best suit your needs.
HVAC systems operate more efficiently and consume less energy when they are well maintained and regularly serviced. A professional inspection can make sure that your system is operating at maximum efficiency and safely providing your home with the heat you need to be comfortable through the fall and winter months. Contact GV’s Heating and Cooling today to schedule a fall check-up or for any of your HVAC needs.