As summer draws to a close, it's time to start preparing your home for winter. One of the most essential parts of getting ready for the cold is making sure that your heating system is ready for the months to come. Here's an HVAC checklist to follow so you can make sure your furnace is prepared and working before the chill sets in.
1. Prep your AC for winter.
When the warm days start to taper off, you can turn the "cool" setting off your thermostat and give your hardworking AC compressor a long winter's nap. Help to extend the life of the unit by removing any leaves that might fall around it. Place a protective cover to keep the snow and ice from harming the unit during the winter. This way, it'll be ready to start right back up again when summer comes next year. If you have an outdoor heat pump, make sure you also remove the fallen leaves and grass clippings so it can be more efficient.
2. Do routine furnace maintenance.
Since you don't use your furnace over the course of the summer, it's time to look in and make sure everything's ready to start heating. If you have a gas furnace, you'll need to turn on the pilot light. You should also clear away cobwebs and any items that might have gotten cluttered up in the utilities room during the summer, especially if you have an open basement that you use for storage. Nothing should touch the furnace at all because this increases the risk of fire.
Change the air filter on your furnace and make sure that the unit itself is free of dust.
If you have a whole-house humidifier to help with dry winter air problems, you should change the water filter if yours has one and make sure the water panel is nice and clean. If you don't have a humidifier installed, you might consider getting one. Humidifiers can help regulate the temperature in your home more easily so that you actually feel warm when the temperature on the thermostat is set lower. Moist air holds more heat than dry air, and the constant heating of the air in your home dries it out. Humidifiers can also help with winter skin problems (dryness, cracking, irritation) and breathing trouble, especially when you have a cold.
Check each register where the heat enters the room. Make sure they are clear of items like hair, cereal, old crackers, and crayons that kids might have dropped into the vents. Rearrange your furniture to make sure that no register is blocked, as blocking the registers can affect the overall efficiency of your furnace. Check under beds and behind desks to make sure that you've opened every vent.
Finally, you want to make sure that your carbon monoxide alarm is working and has fresh batteries. Those with gas heat need this precaution for the safety of everyone in the home. Test the alarm and make sure everyone in the family knows what to do when they hear it.
3. Have your furnace cleaned and serviced by a professional.
Finally, it's time to get an HVAC inspection and cleaning. The cleaning of the interior components of the furnace helps it to run more efficiently. Cleaning out the ducts can reduce indoor air pollutants. If there are any repairs, getting them done now before it is too cold is the wisest, because furnace repair professionals can be very busy during the winter months.
You don't want to wait until freezing temperatures hit before you realize there's a problem with your HVAC. Contact a local furnace servicing company, like Shakley Mechanical Inc, for more information on what you can do to get your system ready for winter.