How to Get Your Central HVAC System Ready for Winter
In addition to prepping your plumbing system for winter, such as insulating pipes, you also want to get your HVAC system ready as well.
Start prepping your home for the darker, cooler nights and the holiday season.
Summer and winter are considered more extreme weather months, and therefore situations can occur when winter comes that put you at risk of extreme discomfort. These are the months we rely on our heating and cooling systems sometimes around the clock just to stay comfortable and healthy.
As a quick reminder, if you haven’t yet scheduled your heating maintenance yet, you could be losing money this winter. Annual maintenance will not only cut down on repair costs, but it also ensures that your home’s heating system is running as efficiently as possible, which lowers utility bills. A comfortable, efficient home is a gift that everyone can appreciate.
Here’s how to get the best performance from your heater this winter and protect your air conditioning system during the frigid months ahead.
Since in the spring you may not be overworking your system as much, this is the time to check it out. Since fall comes before the winter chill, this is the ideal time for maintenance. HVAC experts recommend getting your system ready in the fall to keep you warm day and night in the winter.
There are many reasons why it’s advantageous to schedule maintenance for your furnace before winter hits, including the health and safety of your family. By scheduling in the fall, you may just be preventing a winter crisis.
Get HVAC Ready for Winter
Here’s our top ways to get your HVAC system ready for winter:
1. Keep Your Humidifiers Clean
To optimize efficiency and indoor air quality levels in your home, you must have your humidifier cleaned. Check the compartment and get rid of dirt and dust that may have accumulated inside. Replace filters if necessary.
2. Change Your Air Filter
Cleaning or replacing air filters is always important, but it is especially crucial during winter. Since we spend more time indoors during winter and colder, drier air exacerbates illness and other health problems, it’s important to make sure our HVAC systems are providing the best air filtration that it can.
We recommend setting calendar and phone reminders to check your air filters every 30 days and waiting no longer than 60-90 day to clean or replace them. One way to check if your air filter is dirty is to hold it up to a light source and seeing if any light can pass through.
When you replace your air filter, write the date of replacement on the air filter itself so you know exactly how long it has been since the last replacement.
Contact your local HVAC company for additional air quality suggestions. In addition to air filters, there are many effective air purification systems, such as UV cleaners that can be installed directly into your HVAC systems.
If anyone in your household has respiratory problems, speak with a professional HVAC technician about indoor air quality solutions, such as air purifiers, humidifiers, and duct cleaning/sealing.
3. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse in the Winter
By simply changing the direction of your ceiling fan’s rotation to counterclockwise in the winter, you can help push the warm air that rises back down. Use this method in addition to your HVAC in order to keep your system from overworking to keep you warm. It can also save you money on the hefty winter utility bills.
4. Protect Your Outdoor Air Conditioner
As weather begins getting cooler, eventually you will stop using your air conditioning unit for the season. How weather gives way to warm weather and warm weather gives way to cool weather. When you stop using your system for the season, there are several ways you can help improve the life of your unit by taking care of it.
The outdoor unit is the main part of your system that is exposed to the elements. It is exposed to all of the sunshine, rain, wind, snow and hail that may come through the area. During the warm months, your system must usually be exposed anyways as you are using it, although when not in use, it can be covered and protected as long as you remember to uncover it before using it again.
When the hot weather is over and you know you will not be using your system for a few months, this is a good time to go ahead and cover it. There are specially made covers you can buy for your unit or there are generic covers that should work on most machines that you can buy. If you need to just make the most out of what you have, an old tarp or other weatherproof covering should work.
5. Consider a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
Finally, if your home and system merits it, think about adding upgrades to your system to increase its versatility. For instance, if you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable digital thermostat. That lets you automatically shut off the heat when you go out, then turn it on again just before you get home.
You can set the heat to turn off when you leave to go to work or run errands every day, then back on again ten minutes before you get home. Your house won’t feel any colder than it usually does, and you won’t waste energy heating an empty house.
Similarly, a zone control system lets you tailor the temperature to different parts of the house. That means someone in the bedroom can enjoy a different temperature than someone in the kitchen, and that you can choose to warm only the one section of the house that you’re occupying at the time. Upgrades like these can further lower the cost of your bills while allowing you greater control over how your home is heated.
6. Other Things to Consider
You might also consider patching up any leaky spots around your windows and doors. They leak warm air in the winter time, which forces your heater to work harder to do its job. The more your hose is sealed, the better it will retain all that cozy warm air.
Have a cozy, happy winter with these HVAC preparation tips. For more information or help with any of the above upgrades or repairs, contact Gold Medal Service. Call right now, or anytime this winter — we’re available 24/7, nights and holidays included!