Baby, It’s Cold Outside: 5 Ways to Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter
The air is still relatively warm outside here in Wallace, NC. Save a couple of nights the other week, temperatures haven’t dropped below 50-degrees. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fall and certainly doesn’t mean the weather couldn’t change with a moment’s notice. Once the air does get a bit chilly and daily temps start hovering in the 60s, it is a great reminder that winter is just around the corner. In fact, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, the coldest periods will be in mid-December, mid- and late January and mid- to late February, with the best chances for snow in early to mid-December and then again in mid-March. That said, it is important to prepare now so that when needed, your HVAC unit is operational, energy-efficient, and safe!
To help get your home “winter ready”, Rich’s Heating + Air of Wallace, NC offers a Comfort Club package by membership. “The club includes a check-up on your system twice a year that will catch problems before they actually become problems. It ensures that you will be living in comfort year round. It gives us a chance to work with you on a proactive basis rather than a reactive one.” says Joe Blanchard, owner and certified technician.
CHANGE THE FILTER
An HVAC system is not a “set it and forget it” sort of luxury. While it doesn’t require as much work as a wood burning stove or even a summertime window AC unit, there are a few things that need more regular attention. One of those is changing the filter. You have been running the air conditioning all summer. The dirt that gets sucked into the HVAC system is often the primary reason HVAC systems break down. Think about all the dust and debris kicked up by your lawnmower. Now send that through your HVAC filter. Not good. Not to mention, a dirty filter also makes the system a lot more inefficient. The best course of action is to check your air filter(s) every 30 days and definitely no more than every 90. Replace the dirty filter.
LET YOUR HEATER GET SOME PRACTICE
It may sound silly or completely counter-intuitive, however, you should turn your furnace on at least three times while the weather is still mild out. This doesn’t mean to turn the heat on full blast in mid-July. But when the air temp is a bit milder outside, run the heat. You don’t want to wait until the first cold day to find out the furnace is no longer working. Furnaces are known for oddities such as squirrels nests in the flue and vent system, birds nests in the duct work, etc. Find out if your furnace works early enough to make a repair without becoming hypothermic.
VISUALLY INSPECT AROUND THE FURNACE
It doesn’t matter if your furnace is in the attic, the garage, or even the closet, it’s always a good idea to visually inspect before, during, and after, the heating season. Remove anything that is around the furnace. There should be a minimum of 3-foot clearance around the entire unit. Nothing should be draped over it or laying on it. Furnaces also need to breathe so when there is clutter around it, airflow is restricted and can ultimately cause the furnace to break down. If there is clutter or even just a couple of coats draped over the unit, remove them and tidy up the space.
UNDERSTAND YOUR THERMOSTAT
As the seasons change, it is a good idea to revisit your thermostat. Most houses today have either digital thermostats or “smart thermostats” that can be set to turn on at a certain time, turn off at another, alert you when air quality is poor, etc. Learn how to properly use it. Program your thermostat to come on 30 minutes prior to waking up so you can roll out of bed to a nice, cozy home. The possibilities are endless. There are a lot of features available now for thermostats. Consult your HVAC service provider to find out more.
HAVE REGULAR MAINTENANCE CONDUCTED
A furnace emits carbon monoxide and a number of units use natural gas. Neither should be messed with by anyone other than a licensed HVAC expert.
Notes Blanchard, “We will clean the indoor and outdoor coils, check refrigerant levels, inspect duct work, clear drain lines, and more. We guarantee our work and are finding that the Comfort Club is perfect for homeowners. In fact, for those affected by Hurricane Florence flooding who purchase a new HVAC system through us, there is a complimentary year membership for the Comfort Club. An HVAC system can make life comfortable and safe. It can also make it very uncomfortable and even a health risk.” However, with proper maintenance and technician guidance offered by companies like Rich’s Heating + Air, this winter can be both warm and cozy.