As fall arrives, many homeowners are gearing up for the cooler temperatures. Such preparations might include dusting off their heaters before plugging them in for the next few months, but is that enough to make sure the piece of equipment is ready for the work that awaits it?
Likely not. As any mechanic and experienced driver will tell you, a car left unused for months will develop problems. This applies to your HVAC system, too. That’s why it becomes imperative to perform some maintenance checks before you begin operating your heating system. Below are some tips to help.
1. Schedule a Tune-Up by a Professional
A professional tune-up before regular use of the HVAC system is a good way to ensure everything is working properly, identify any issues, and get them fixed before they cause any more damage. A tune-up scheduled in the fall is quite convenient – it will give you plenty of time before temperatures drop and there’s still enough daylight left for your technician to complete any necessary maintenance.
Of course, many HVAC professionals are available year-round if you don’t want your tune-up scheduled so late. Precision Air Solutions is one such company of professionals.
If you would rather take matters into your own hands, read on.
2. Check, Clean, or Change the Air Filter
Dirty filters restrict airflow, wasting energy and costing you money. Plus, a dirty filter can exacerbate allergies and other breathing problems by trapping allergens inside your house. Hence, cleaning your filter is essential, and here’s how to do it:
- Take off your old air filter and lay it flat on your patio or driveway. Use a garden hose to spray off loose dirt from both sides, then turn over and repeat on the other side of your air filter.
- After washing your air filter thoroughly, place it in a bucket of warm water with some mild detergent (like dish soap). Swish around for about five minutes.
- When you’re done, rinse with clear water until all suds are gone.
- Let it dry completely before you reinstall in your AC unit.
However, not all filters are designed to be removed. In that case, all you can do is brush off the dirt on it. If brushing it doesn’t make much difference, maybe consider changing it. If you decide to do so, calling a professional to check it over, get a new filter, and install it is a better idea than flexing your DIY muscles.
3. Consider Using A Programmable Thermostat if You Aren’t Already
While a programmable thermostat might sound like a mouthful, it’s something that most homeowners can easily get comfortable with. Essentially, these devices make it easy for you to adjust your home’s temperature at specific times of day or night. They’re extremely effective at what they do. Plus, they make it easier than ever for you to keep your home as comfortable as possible while saving money on energy bills every month of fall and winter. If you’d like help in finding a great programmable thermostat for your household, contact an HVAC professional like Precision Air Solutions today.
4. Check The Vents
This is an important part of conducting HVAC maintenance. The vents – both the outdoor air suction vent and indoor supply vent – are where air moves through. If they’re blocked, the airflow will be restricted which can lead to poor performance and inefficiency in the heating process.
By paying attention to these two parts of your unit, you can spot potential problems before they happen. Simply look for any buildup of mold or dirt; if you see a problem you can’t confidently take on with a brush, schedule an appointment with a professional as soon as possible.
5. Make Sure The Coils Still Look Good
The coil is the part of the furnace or AC that does all the work of heating or cooling the air that comes in through the outdoor air suction vent. This heated or cooled air (the temperature is determined by the thermostat) is then moved out of the HVAC system by a fan through the indoor supply vent.
As you can see, the coils are probably the most crucial cog in the machine that is an HVAC system and that’s why you need to make sure they’re not about to become useless any time soon. What this entails is making sure:
- All electrical connections are firm and there is very little chance of partial contact at the terminals. If you aren’t an electrician yourself, it’s better to leave this to the pros.
- There isn’t mold growing on the coil (this is especially important to verify if you haven’t used the furnace in a long time).
- The coil chamber (where the air is heated) is free of moisture
6. Fix Leaks Immediately, Even Minor Ones
They don’t have to be in or around your HVAC system. It doesn’t matter how powerful your HVAC is if your walls, doors, and windows aren’t as airtight as they should be. Leaks can cause your system to run longer and cost you a bundle on your heating bill. Make sure that when you’re going around the house, checking for drafts, you don’t overlook anything—minor leaks need fixing right away. A few cracks around windows or door frames may seem harmless, but over time they add up.
7. Use The Right Heating Power for Your Space
This heating power is measured in the British Thermal Unit (BTU). This is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. For air conditioners (and heaters), it’s recommended you use 20 BTUs for each square foot of space.
If your heater isn’t powerful enough for the area you’re using it, this will lead to you running it for longer and at a higher temperature than you should. This long duration of high-intensity use will lead to the furnace burning out (hehe) sooner. Call an expert over for help picking the right furnace.
A Professional is the Best Option
Taking care of things yourself comes with risks, risks that increase exponentially if you don’t know what you’re doing. These can be mitigated by having someone qualified do the job, and in California, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone or company of professionals better equipped in terms of experience to handle any problems that may arise with your HVAC system than Precision Air Solutions.
It’s easy to book an appointment with us, and we’ll send someone around in less time than it takes to walk to your front door.