Prepare Your HVAC System Ready for the Fall Season
The cooler weather that comes with the fall season here in Central Indiana makes it the perfect time of year to prepare your HVAC for the colder season ahead. For some, it feels like a daunting task to prepare HVAC system for fall, but it’s important to take care of your heating system now before it’s time to use it.
Williams Comfort Air explains how to prepare your HVAC system, ensure the unit is operating correctly, improve the unit’s performance, and prevent costly repairs before the seasons change. Tasks on our list include shutting down the air conditioning system after summer, HVAC maintenance, scheduling your professional maintenance check up, how to prevent drafts, changing air filters and maintaining proper air flow, and making an appointment with your HVAC technician for HVAC services to fix heat issues and make sure your system is working properly. These HVAC maintenance tasks protect your HVAC system, limiting energy waste and improving energy efficiency to keep your energy bill low throughout the winter.
1. Prepare Your HVAC System for Fall by Scheduling a Maintenance Checkup
Regular maintenance is a critical part of caring for heating system. This professional service helps to prepare HVAC systems for tackling heating needs once the weather turns cold. Just like an air conditioning unit needs a maintenance check and tune up each spring, the heating unit requires this service once per year, too – and fall is the ideal time to do it!
When performed by a professional, a maintenance tune up will prepare your HVAC equipment for heating season by ultimately boosting its performance, which in turn allows the system to heat your home and provide plenty of warm air with higher efficiency. Professional heating unit maintenance includes tasks such as:
- Lubricating motor bearings
- Tightening connections to prevent electrical damage
- Inspecting the heat exchanger
- Testing the thermostat
- Cleaning to prevent dirt buildup inside the unit
- Cleaning coils for proper heat exchange
This maintenance checkup also provides the opportunity to find problems with heating unit components that could cause a serious breakdown during the winter. Through careful inspection, technicians find previously unknown issues and correct them so you don’t experience a loss of heat from your HVAC unit, nor higher energy costs over the season.
Maintenance plans offered by HVAC companies make this task as simple as can be for homeowners! Signing up to join one of your contractor’s HVAC maintenance plans prepares your heating system for fall with convenient tune up scheduling plus other benefits like discounts on labor to help you avoid costly repairs and savings when you need to replace your furnace, heat pump, boiler, or even air conditioning equipment. Contact and ask your contractor about the plans offered that cover your regular maintenance check up in fall and spring, and more.
2. Request Repairs Now to Prepare Your HVAC System for Cooler Weather
If you remember experiencing any troubles with your furnace, heat pump, or boiler last winter, now is the time to take care of those repair needs. Make an HVAC services appointment to have your HVAC technician inspect and diagnose the issues you notice, like if you hear unusual noises or had rooms that never felt like they received enough heat to stay comfortable. Technicians can find and fix all sorts of HVAC issues that stand in the way of optimal performance, including safety issues like a grounded or shorted wire, or the need to replace components such as an ignitor, coils, or blower assembly.
You don’t want to wait until the colder season arrives to address these issues, as that could leave you waiting longer than you expect. HVAC companies get very busy when cold weather first sets in, as many people fail to contact them ahead of time to solve known issues or heating problems aren’t found until it’s time to turn on the system for the year.
3. Replace Air Filters After Summer
Air conditioning systems see heavy use over the summer, which can quickly cause clogged filters if air filters are not replaced on a regular basis. During the fall, install a new furnace filter so your heating unit has a fresh one in place moving into winter. This ensures air will move correctly through the unit without hindrance so the system offers highly efficient performance through the season.
4. Maintain Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you use a gas furnace or boiler to heat your home, you need to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in critical spots across the house. An issue such as a cracked heat exchanger or damaged flue pipe can cause carbon monoxide to mix with the air circulating into the home, posing a danger to your loved ones.
In the fall, change the batteries in each carbon monoxide alarm. Test each unit now and repeat testing monthly by holding down the test button until its alert sounds to make sure the device is working correctly. Replace the entire carbon monoxide alarm once it reaches 10 years of age.
5. Clean the Outdoor Unit
Whether you’re putting air conditioning systems to bed for the fall or prepping a heat pump for the winter heating season, the outdoor unit requires some attention. Cleaning the unit ensures heat pumps receive enough airflow for efficient heating energy exchange, and protects both air conditioning units and heat pumps from damage caused by debris that limit air movement and other issues such as dirt on coils that damage the unit and prevent proper operation.
- Brush off debris such as grass clippings, leaves, mulch, and other matter from the fins that protect the coils in the outdoor unit.
- Remove weeds and plants growing up from the ground beneath along the unit’s exterior.
- Trim back nearby bushes and shrubs that could restrict airflow.
- Cut dead limbs on your property and remove them so the unit is not damaged by falling branches weighed down by ice or knocked out of trees on a windy day.
- Store outdoor items like grills, patio furniture, and lawn toys away from the outdoor heat pump or air conditioner so they do not block airflow – leave at least two feet of open space on all sides of the unit.
6. Optional – Cover Air Conditioning Equipment
Once you’re finished using cooling only systems for the season, some homeowners choose to cover these units to protect them against damage over the winter. HVAC systems like air conditioners that are made to be installed outside are built to withstand years of exposure to harsh elements, so it is not necessary to cover them. However, you can if you want to – just be sure to do it the right way and to remove the cover before future use. You can use a specially designed air conditioner cover or simply protect the unit from damage due to falling debris or moisture intrusion by cutting a piece of plywood to fit atop the cabinet and strap it down.
7. Ensure Proper Air Flow Throughout the Home
Take time to check around your house for airflow obstructions that could hamper efficient performance of HVAC systems in winter. Doings so will allow you to enjoy plenty of heating in your living areas and avoid energy waste that leads to a higher energy bill and places unnecessary stress on your heating components.
- Check vents in each room. Make sure supply vents are uncovered and that louvered registered covers are set open. The return air vent must be unobstructed, too, so move furniture or any other item restricting airflow through the vents. Shutting vents to save money and reduce your winter energy bill is a myth that can actually hurt heating and cooling systems.
- If vent covers are covered in dirt and dust, clean vents to avoid airflow obstructions and air quality problems. You can unscrew vent covers and wipe them down with a cleaning cloth or use warm water and a mild detergent to remove tough debris deposits.
- Inspect accessible ductwork for signs of damage and disconnected sections. It’s a good idea to have your ducts sealed before winter to help them hold in heated air produced by the furnace or HVAC equipment, allowing more of the heating produced to be delivered to your living areas and reducing heating loss.
Get HVAC Systems Winter Ready!
With the professional advice above, you can get your heating system in top shape so it’s ready to work at its most efficient levels all winter long. To schedule your furnace maintenance tune up or repairs for furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps, call Williams Comfort Air today.