Even though the leaves have barely started to brown, snow is already falling across areas of the central US, and a long, chilly winter may not be as far away as it seems. Are your heating and air conditioning systems ready for the mercury to drop?
Homeowners should look into heating and air conditioning service before the turn of the seasons to make sure they aren’t left in the cold when winter arrives. If you inspect your HVAC systems yourself, you’ll have time to schedule an appointment with a heating and air conditioning service before you see a single snowflake.
Here’s what to look for:
1. Check Your Air Filter
The air filter in your furnace should be replaced every month. This is fairly easy to do on your own. All you need to do is find the filter, remove it, and slide a new one in, using the arrows on the filter as guides.
You can also consider upgrading your flat filter to a more efficient one. HEPA, electrostatic and pleated filters all increase your home’s energy efficiency and allow hot air to flow more freely to each room.
2. Make Sure Ducts and Air Vents are Clean
Your air vents and ducts should always be clean of dust and dirt to increase air flow and reduce indoor allergens and pollutants. You can remove vent covers and use an extended vacuum hose to remove some dust, but more thorough cleanings are best left to heating and air conditioning services with specialized equipment.
3. Optimize Your Thermostat Settings
Program your thermostat so that it will automatically reduce heat when you’re out or sleeping. This can save you about $180 each year in energy costs, and 20-75% of your furnaces operating costs. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider retrofitting one into your system.
4. Check for Obstructions
Take a look at your outdoor exhaust flue to make sure its clear of nearby foliage. You should also check for animal nests. The area surrounding your furnace unit should also be cleared of clutter and debris. Go around to all the air vents in your home and make sure they’re open. While you’re at it, remove anything that might get in the way of air flow from your vents.
5. Make Sure Your Blower Belt Isn’t Cracked
Shut the furnace power off at the main circuit breaker, remove the steel cover of the air handler, and check out the largest visible rubber belt. If it’s cracked, it needs to be replaced. Contact a heating and air conditioning service if you don’t feel comfortable performing this step.
Once all that is taken care of, you should be set for anything winter throws at you!