Steps to Prepare Your HVAC System for the Winter
Your HVAC system works tirelessly to heat and cool your home, keeping temperatures comfortable no matter what the season. This process of continual regulation, heating, and cooling can be taxing on the system. Unfortunately, many of us don’t give thought to our HVAC systems until an issue occurs. Failing to perform regular maintenance and repair will result in costly breakdowns, poor indoor air quality, and an inefficient system that costs you both time and money to maintain. You’ll also see a significant spike in your energy usage and monthly bills for failing to maintain your system properly. Getting routine maintenance for your system will be the first essential step in making sure that your HVAC system works when you need it.
Winter HVAC Use
Winter is one of those seasons when you rely on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable during cooler temperatures. As you head into a season where the demands on your HVAC system are greater, consider preparing your system for the higher workload to reduce potential breakdowns and increase efficiency. Take these simple and effective steps to prepare your HVAC system for the winter ahead.
Power It Down
Before running any other maintenance inspections or checks on your unit, you’ll want to turn the whole system off. Wait for the blower to stop, and note any strange sounds or smells that emanate from the unit while you are waiting for all components to stop running. This first step is quite telling in that it can indicate problems with an HVAC system that doesn’t efficiently power down.
Inspect and Replace the Filter
We tend to spend more time indoors in the winter months, and we breathe in continually recycled air that is circulated through ductwork that may or may not be clogged with dust, dirt, and allergens. Your air filter is designed to remove a great deal of this debris and keep it from circulating through your system and compromising your indoor air quality. As an air filter continues to capture and store away these particles, it becomes saturated; at some point, it will stop absorbing this debris, and the filter will let it flow through your system.
All of this extra sludge can have an impact on not only your health but also on different components of your system. Ductwork, mechanical components, burners, and other HVAC parts are affected by this debris, and they must work harder to regulate temperatures in and around your home. By regularly inspecting and replacing filters, you are taking an important step in protecting your system and preserving its function and longevity.
Listen to Your Unit
Running a “sound check” on your unit is a good idea to ensure proper function. Just as you listened to your unit when powering down, you’ll want to make note of any changes in sounds as it functions as well as when you turn it back on. You likely know the typical sounds your unit makes as it cycles; make note of any clangs, bangs, thuds, or high-pitched whines that it may be making, and enlist the help of a qualified HVAC professional if you notice that anything seems unusual about its operation.
Do a Thermostat Tune-Up
Your HVAC system and your thermostat have an intimate connection; you can use the data coming from your thermostat to determine the condition of your HVAC system. For instance, if temperatures displayed on a thermostat are not in keeping with what you feel in your house, there could be a problem with your system. Do a performance check and tune-up on your thermostat to make sure it’s calling for heat properly and is displaying temperatures accurately.
Check for the Presence of Moisture and Mold
Your HVAC system accumulates moisture as it runs, which is not ideal in houses that are tightly closed and poorly ventilated. Moisture can lead to rust, mold, and mildew growth, and an abundance of bacteria that can impact your respiratory health over time. If mold and mildew are detected in your system, take steps to have it professionally cleaned and eradicated, and follow your HVAC professional’s recommendations for aftercare and indoor air quality assessment as these overly moist conditions could impact your health and that of your loved ones.
Consider a Test Run
Many people make the mistake of firing up their HVAC system when they need it, which usually coincides before or during a first snowfall. Don’t wait until you need the unit to determine if it is still working properly; consider a dry run when temperatures are still moderate outside to make sure that all parts are in good working order. If you run into any issues during these test periods, contact your HVAC technician to diagnose and repair issues prior to the first major dip in temperatures.
Clean the Unit
According to studies performed by the U.S. Department of Energy, between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a home is wasted. A dirty system likely contributes to most of this draw on energy; as your unit has to work hard to regulate temperatures amidst a slew of debris, it becomes less efficient and more costly to run. Cleaning and inspecting different components of your unit will improve efficiency, protect your unit’s function, and reduce your energy costs significantly over time. Calling in a trained HVAC professional to manage the process of cleaning delicate electrical and gas connections while looking for deficiencies is one of the best lines of defense in protecting your unit and ensuring its efficient function this winter.
Clear the HVAC Area
If you’re like most homeowners, you use every nook and cranny in your home for extra storage. Some of your boxes and old decorations may have even made their way into your HVAC system closet or room, clogging up space that was designed to help it run more efficiently. Clear the HVAC space of extra boxes and storage bins, and your unit will be able to breathe, running more efficiently and preventing issues such as fires and system leaks that could cause damage to other items in your home.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Keeping your HVAC system running well all year round starts with implementing a regular maintenance plan performed by qualified HVAC technicians. During a professional tune-up, your technician will examine all components of your unit, clean and test connections, and evaluate the function of your system. He may make recommendations for the repair and replacement of parts as well as give you valuable tips on improving energy efficiency and lowering your utility costs. Taking care of minor issues at regular intervals throughout the year will save you significantly over time as this maintenance can improve function and reduce the risk of incurring large repair bills from catastrophic system failure. Approaching your HVAC system care proactively will ensure your comfort, additional energy savings, and system longevity overall.
An HVAC Company You Can Truly Trust
Stay warm and toasty this winter with excellent service from the qualified professionals at HB Home Service Team in Randallstown, MD. Our top-notch service professionals provide valuable services such as HVAC installation, repair, maintenance, water heater installation and maintenance, water conditioning services, and well maintenance and repair. We are ready to prep your home HVAC system and get you optimized for winter. Contact us today to set up a service call, and look forward to comfortable temperatures this season.