Your HVAC system is hard at work for you heating and cooling your home to keep you comfortable year-round. When it’s working well, many of us don’t think about the various aspects of a system that need regular care and maintenance to optimize its function and keep it working when we need it most.
Providing regular care and maintenance for your system at various times of the year is an essential part of making sure your unit will work properly for years to come. As colder months approach us, it’s time to think about winterizing your HVAC unit. What is involved in seasonal fall and winter maintenance? Read on to see how to prepare your HVAC system for the coming months, as well as who to call when you need a professional assessment of your system and its capabilities for the winter ahead.
What Is Winterizing?
This term means to prepare something for winter. Ideally, the best time to prep your HVAC unit for winter is in early fall. There are various steps involved in winterizing your unit to ensure that it is ready for an onslaught of colder temperatures. Taking the time to winterize your unit offers some significant benefits.
The Ability to Take Care of Issues Promptly
Most HVAC system breakdowns occur when your system is having to deal with temperature and humidity extremes. Having your unit prepared for winter will help you to identify potential issues that may cause your unit to break down when you need it most. Have your HVAC technician look for worn parts, low fluid levels, and other components that aren’t up to standard and then make necessary repairs to ensure that you make it through winter without significant repair or replacement costs.
The Opportunity to Clean Your Unit Properly
Moisture and other debris can quickly clog up the components within your HVAC system, causing eventual system failure if it is not properly cleaned and maintained. A seasonal inspection and maintenance check will allow a technician to clean various parts of your unit, making it ready to work hard for you all winter long.
Significant Energy Savings
An HVAC unit that is properly maintained and repaired will work more efficiently than one that has been neglected. Performing a winterization maintenance check will keep your unit clean and running well, giving it the ability to work effectively without you seeing a dramatic increase in your energy costs.
Steps to Proper Winterization of Your HVAC Unit
Most professional heating and cooling companies recommend maintenance inspections twice yearly. Spring inspections are to ensure that air conditioner components are working correctly, and late fall inspections are for the purpose of preparing your unit for the winter months. Take these steps to winterize your unit properly.
One of the easiest ways to maintain your HVAC system is to change your air filter regularly. Your air filter has the important job of filtering out contaminants in the air, like mildew, pet dander, bacteria, and dust mites. Winter is a season when we are all exposed to greater amounts of indoor air. Making sure that this air is clean and free from potentially dangerous particulates will not only help your unit function more efficiently, but it will also keep you and your family healthier.
Most filters need to be replaced quarterly, and many new filters have an indicator that tells you when it needs to be changed. If you live in a home with smokers or pets, consider changing the filter more frequently to keep indoor air as clean as possible.
Cleaning vents coming to and from the HVAC unit is an essential part of making sure your entire unit stays clean during winter. With the average family generating nearly 40 pounds of dust and dander a year, much of this muck makes its way into your ventilation system, and it needs to be removed in order for your furnace and ductwork to stay clean and efficient.
Make Sure Vents are Open and Unblocked
It may be tempting to close off rooms and sections of your home that you don’t use in order to save a few dollars, but this is counterproductive to maintaining efficient furnace function. All vents should be open and unblocked, free from obstructions such as carpet, drapes, and furniture. As blocked air builds up within your ductwork, your HVAC system must work harder to regulate air temperature. Blocked vents can also cause a buildup of condensation, causing mold and mildew to develop and circulate through your system.
Inspect, Clear, and Cover the Condenser
Most HVAC systems have a dual function, meaning that they are optimized to heat and cool your home at various times of the year. The condenser unit sits outside your home and is part of your air conditioning system. Even though it isn’t used in the winter months, it still needs care to ensure that it will be ready when you need it again. It will need to be cleared of leaves, sticks, and other outdoor debris to ensure that it continues to function when you turn it back on. To protect it from snow and ice, consider adding a condenser cover that will protect it from the outdoor elements.
Perform a Heating System Inspection
Consider a comprehensive heating system inspection before you turn this component of your unit on for heavy use. Debris can build up throughout the year that needs to be cleaned out in order for various parts to work efficiently. Having a technician check parts such as the fan motor, heat exchanger, and carbon monoxide levels within your home will give you peace of mind that your unit is ready to take on a heavier workload in the winter months. Should your technician find that small repairs are needed, taking care of these in a timely manner will reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience significant breakdowns or system failure.
Test the Thermostat
Once all other aspects of your HVAC system have been checked and tended to, it’s time to test your thermostat. The thermostat is command central for your whole system; it sends commands to your unit to tell it when, where, and how much to heat and cool your home. A faulty thermostat fails to communicate these messages properly, which results in a failure to heat your home properly. Consider adding an upgraded smart thermostat to your system that you can regulate at the touch of a few buttons on a smart device, making it even easier and more efficient to heat and cool your home.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Winterize Your HVAC System!
Sano Heating & Air Conditioning is one of Orange County’s leading companies for quality heating and cooling services. A passion for customer service, top-notch HVAC expertise and training, and a commitment to maintaining our premier status in the Orange County area and beyond are what drive us to find solutions for you. In addition to a full range of heating and cooling services, our team provides indoor air quality, duct cleaning and installation, and sheet metal services. Don’t settle for substandard comfort this winter. Contact our professionals to winterize and help prepare your home for the cold season today!