Modern HVAC equipment is well-made and designed to withstand seasonal stresses. However, even the best systems become less efficient over time, and the older units get, the greater the chances of a breakdown. HVAC system failures are always inconvenient, but they can also be dangerous when heating equipment malfunctions in the winter.
Homeowners can help prevent the problem by taking steps to “winterize” their homes in the fall. It’s also essential for a professional to examine heating systems each autumn, to ensure residents are comfortable all winter.
The Benefits of Preparing HVAC Equipment for Winter
A heating system is a significant investment, so it’s essential to keep equipment in good shape. Routine inspections and repairs are the best way to do that. Much like other mechanical devices, HVAC equipment runs best when it is well-maintained. Getting a heating system in shape for winter offers benefits that include:
- Reduced risk of breakdowns: During professional inspections, technicians can identify and correct minor problems that could cause problems when heating systems are working hard, typically during the coldest months.
- More comfortable homes: Caring for HVAC equipment ensures efficient operation, which translates into comfortable rooms in any weather.
- Decreased energy costs: Efficient heating equipment uses less energy to function at peak capacity.
- Longer equipment life: Regular inspections provide an opportunity to find and fix problems that could decrease HVAC systems’ lives. Professional care can often extend equipment life by years.
It’s Important to Evaluate the HVAC Unit
A thorough inspection begins with the HVAC unit. There are some things homeowners can do, and some that require professional skills.
At a minimum, homeowners should turn on their heat in the fall and make sure it is working correctly. They can also clear debris away from an outside unit.
It is vital to call an expert if there are any signs of problems. Even if things seem to be running well, a professional inspection is still a good idea. Technicians can find problems customers did not spot. Technicians also tune-up equipment and make adjustments that prevent many issues.
Change the Filter Before Winter
Fall is the time to change heating equipment’s filter, and it is something anyone can do. Re-usable filters are good choices because homeowners can rinse them out, and they will work like they’re new. It is essential to check and replace filters every month during cold weather to ensure safety and efficiency.
Inspect and Clean Heating Ducts in the Fall
Home heating ducts can collect debris and allergens that degrade the quality of indoor air, so it is essential to clean them periodically. They can also become damaged, which stresses the heating system.
Homeowners should inspect ducts and look for punctures, disconnected parts, dents, or mold. Ducts need to be completely sealed to be efficient. Many people can handle the inspections and repairs themselves, but the easiest route is to hire a professional. Technicians quickly identify and correct all problems.
Make Sure Air Vents Are Clean
Inspecting and cleaning air ducts is a simple but essential part of getting heating systems ready for winter. Dirt and dust accumulations can lead to equipment breakdowns.
Thoroughly cleaning vents helps ensure strong airflow and prevents ventilation blockages. It’s an easy job, but anyone who cannot stand on a ladder should call experts.
Check On the Thermostat
Fall is the time to make sure the thermostat is working correctly and replace it if there is an issue. Sometimes a thermostat that works well with A/C will not switch over to heat.
The autumn might also be the time to upgrade to a smart thermostat. Some of the benefits include:
- Cost Savings: Homeowners can preset temperatures for different times of day, reducing energy costs as much as 10%.
- Convenience: Many thermostats create new programs, eliminating the need to adjust temperatures.
- Wi-Fi: Some models have Wi-Fi capability that lets users connect thermostats to phones. Homeowners can turn systems on or off from any location.
- Environmental Sensitivity: There are smart thermostats that will analyze outdoor conditions and adjust for humidity and temperature fluctuations.
Seal All Home Cracks and Leaks
Although the task does not directly involve HVAC equipment, sealing leaks and cracks can minimize heating equipment stress. When heated air regularly escapes, and cold air is allowed to seep in, systems work overtime to keep homes comfortable.
Fall is an excellent time to make sure windows and doors are sound and not leaking air. It is the perfect season to replace loose or cracked panes or replace original windows with energy-efficient styles.
Decide Whether the Unit Needs Upgrading
In some cases, the best way to ensure a home is warm all winter is to replace the heating system. That is especially true with aging equipment. The average lifespan for heating equipment is 12-20 years. When a furnace is over 20 years old, there is no guarantee it will serve for another winter. Even if professionals can keep it running, constant repairs can get expensive.
A professional inspection will determine whether an upgrade is the most sensible option, and technicians provide the best replacement equipment for clients’ needs. A new unit lowers heating costs, keeps a home more comfortable, and ensures trouble-free heating all winter.
Consider a Maintenance Agreement
Homeowners with older systems that run well might want to consider a maintenance agreement that includes scheduled inspections. During visits, technicians can winterize heating systems. Most contracts also offer reduced prices on repairs.
Schedule Professional Maintenance
The simplest and easiest way to ensure any HVAC system is ready for winter is to schedule an expert inspection during the fall. Technicians provide a thorough checkup, and they will:
- Evaluate and clean the heating system
- Clean and check connections, sensors, drains, the ignitor, ducts, pipes, burners, and valves
- Inspect smoke/carbon-monoxide detectors
- Check and calibrate thermostats
- Instruct clients about anything they should do between professional visits
A well-maintained HVAC system can be the difference between a cozy winter and a disastrous heating system breakdown during freezing weather. It is crucial to inspect home heating systems before winter. The best time to check systems is in the fall, and the best way to ensure high-caliber results is to schedule professional HVAC maintenance.