As the summer heat begins to fade, your HVAC system takes on a new job: keeping your home comfortable during the cooler months. But before you switch on the heat for the first time this season, it’s important to take some time for HVAC maintenance.
By checking a few tasks off your to-do list now, you can ensure that your HVAC system is ready for the changing seasons. Don’t worry about handling everything yourself — many of these maintenance tips can be completed with just a simple call to your local HVAC technician.
1. Change the Filters
Your HVAC system’s filters play a vital role in protecting your air quality and keeping your indoor environment comfortable. They work by trapping the dust, dirt and allergens that would otherwise circulate in your home. A clogged filter can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms, reduce airflow and cause your system to work harder than it should.
To maintain optimum performance, it’s recommended that you replace your filters every one to three months. This task is especially important before turning your heat on for the first time in the fall as dust and debris may have accumulated in the filter while your heating system was not being used. This is a simple job that most homeowners can do on their own, but don’t hesitate to call a technician if you need help.
2. Clear the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit is responsible for exchanging air between the inside and outside of your home. To ensure that this process can happen smoothly, it’s important that you keep the area around the outdoor unit free from debris, like leaves, branches and grass clippings.
Take a few moments to clear the outdoor unit before you turn on your heat. Make sure there is at least two feet of space between the unit and any nearby shrubs or trees. You may also want to trim back overgrown foliage that could be obstructing airflow.
3. Move Combustible Items Away From the Furnace
This tip is especially important if you have a gas furnace. Combustible items, like paint cans, cardboard boxes and cleaning supplies, should never be stored near the furnace. Even a small spark can ignite these materials and create a serious fire hazard in your home.
Check the area around your furnace and move anything combustible to another part of the house. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and keep a safe distance — at least three feet — between your furnace and any items that could catch fire.
4. Replace Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled for an extended period. It is produced by fuel-burning appliances, like furnaces and water heaters, so the fall season poses an especially high risk.
To protect your family, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Before the weather gets too cold, replace the batteries in all your detectors so that they are ready for use. This is an easy and inexpensive step to take that may potentially save lives down the line.
5. Get a Professional Duct Cleaning
Over time, your home’s air ducts can have a buildup of dust, dirt and debris. This can lead to reduced efficiency in your HVAC system and an overall decline in indoor air quality.
A duct cleaning will help restore your air ducts to optimal condition and ensure that the air in your home is as clean and healthy as possible in the months ahead. This task involves the use of specialized tools and cleaning products, so it’s best to leave the job to a qualified professional.
6. Check Insulation
Proper insulation is the foundation of a well-functioning HVAC system. It helps keep warm air in during the winter and cool air in during the summer. Poor insulation can cause your heating costs to skyrocket in the winter months by making your furnace work harder than it needs to.
Insulation inspections are often done as part of a routine HVAC service appointment. If your insulation has suffered some wear and tear, the technician may recommend that you replace it with a more modern material for improved heat retention.
7. Schedule Heating Maintenance
Scheduling heating maintenance is a proactive step in ensuring your home remains warm and cozy when you need it most. Regular servicing by professionals helps identify and address potential issues, ensuring your heating system operates efficiently.
It not only prevents unexpected breakdowns but also extends the lifespan of your equipment, saving you money in the long run. Don’t wait until winter arrives; schedule heating maintenance to keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient year-round.
8. Inspect the Gas Line
If you have a gas furnace in your home, it’s vital to have the gas line inspected each year. Even small leaks can be hazardous and cause a buildup of carbon monoxide in your living space.
During a seasonal maintenance appointment, your HVAC technician can examine your gas line for signs of wear and tear and make repairs where necessary. In some cases, they may recommend replacing the line if it has become too worn or outdated.
9. Check the Blower Fans and Motors
Your HVAC system’s blower fans and motors circulate air throughout the vents in your home. As these parts become worn, they can become increasingly loud and less effective at heating and cooling your home.
A technician can inspect these components for any signs of damage while they perform routine maintenance on your HVAC system. During this inspection, they might notice that the fan belt needs to be replaced or that the motor is no longer as powerful as it used to be. If needed, they will recommend repairs or replacements that can help keep your system running smoothly until spring arrives.
10. Calibrate the Thermostat
An HVAC system is only as efficient as its thermostat. If your thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly, it may not be able to accurately sense and adjust the temperature in your home. This can lead to higher energy bills and inconsistent temperatures throughout the house.
When you schedule a seasonal maintenance appointment, ask your technician if they offer calibration services. Having your thermostat professionally adjusted can help improve its performance and ensure that your HVAC system runs as efficiently as possible.
These are just a few of the many ways you can keep your HVAC system running smoothly this fall and winter, and the best way to start is by scheduling a professional maintenance appointment. Your technician will perform many of these tasks and more as they inspect and clean your system. If your system needs any additional repairs, they can recommend the best route to take.
If you’re ready to gear up for fall with a comprehensive maintenance service, Perfect, Plumbing Heating & Air is here to help. We have provided quality heating, cooling, indoor air quality and plumbing services to homeowners in the Boise, Idaho, area since 1984, and our team of experienced technicians can make sure that your HVAC system is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws its way this season.
Contact us today to learn more about our seasonal maintenance plans.