5 Tips For Keeping Your HVAC In Top Shape This Winter
In most homes, HVAC or the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems are often in “out of sight, out of mind” situations. While HVAC systems play an essential role in keeping our homes cool during summer and warm in winter, most homeowners typically don’t interact with or see the system beyond the settings on their thermostats.
However, much like any component in your home, HVAC systems require regular maintenance to ensure they remain in good condition and continue servicing your home efficiently, especially during hot and cold seasons when you need them the most. Frequent checkups by a professional team, like an HVAC company in Arlington or one in your area, can help detect issues at an early stage. This allows you to fix the problem and minimize unexpected breakdowns. Or worse, the need for costly repairs or replacements.
Furthermore, here are some tips for keeping your HVAC in top shape this winter:
Carry Out Filter Checks
Usually, HVAC filters have to be changed every three months, as dirty ones can allow pollutants such as dander, mold, and dust to sneak into your home. Inhaling these pollutants can pose health risks to you and your family and cause allergic reactions. That said, before winter, it’s recommended that you change your filter or check if it’s in good condition.
Besides the potential health risks, dirt and dust accumulation can clog your air filters, preventing them from functioning effectively. A dirty filter could also reduce the HVAC system’s lifespan, as the system will be forced to work harder than usual to warm your home. In the long run, this can cause your energy bills to skyrocket.
And in a worst-case scenario, your HVAC system may overheat and even burn out due to the accumulation of dirt in the filter. Hence, you may be forced to replace your system your HVAC system.
Clean Your Vents And Ducts
As mentioned, dirt and dust buildup on HVAC systems can greatly impact their efficiency. Like dirty filters, dirty vents and air ducts can also impact the longevity of your home’s HVAC system and affect and contaminate the quality of indoor air. For instance, aside from dust, microbial pathogens, bacteria, and insect and animal drippings could also be present in the vents.
To help you get started in cleaning your home’s vents and ducts, equip yourself first with the right tools, such as:
- Heavy-duty gloves, goggles, and a dust mask you can wear when cleaning
- Power drills or screwdrivers to remove the screws in your vents and return-air grille plates
- Cleaning cloth and paper towels
- Vacuum and a stiff-bristle brush
Ideally, it’s best to have your home’s vents and air ducts professionally serviced. As professionals and experts, they can thoroughly clean and reach the nooks and crannies of your ducts using high-powered vacuums. Moreover, if you’re not familiar with or accustomed to the cleaning process, you could risk damaging or tearing your ducts. And as a result, this could affect the performance of your HVAC system, which can be problematic since it can be inconvenient once winter comes.
Ensure The Outdoor Pipes Are Not Obstructed
When maintaining your HVAC system, note that it’s not just the indoor components that need attention and maintenance, as outdoor HVAC pipes are also susceptible to damage because they’re exposed to weather and other elements. Things such as ice, branches, snow, and leaves can obstruct airflow, which in turn can cause damage to your HVAC system.
As you prepare for winter, ensure that the HVAC pipes are free of debris from leaves to twigs, and ensure you trim back shrubs and plants that can find their way into the pipe. During the winter season, always clear snow and ice that will form near or on the HVAC pipes, as they can become potential hazards.
Check For Air Leaks
While this tip is not directly related to maintaining your home’s HVAC system, it’d still be worth noting that if your windows and doors are not tightly sealed, the warm air produced by your HVAC system can easily leak outside. In such a case, your HVAC may need to work harder to keep your home’s interior warm during the winter, adding much pressure on your equipment, which can result in component failure. This is not an ideal situation, especially in the middle of the cold season when you need your heating system to work efficiently the most. Not to mention how it can increase your electricity bills.
That said, your maintenance routine should include checking for air leaks around openings like windows and doors. From there, you can proceed with caulking or weatherstripping to seal the gaps and leaks you identified.
Replace Your Thermostat Batteries
When ensuring your home’s HVAC is ready for winter, most homeowners tend to overlook thermostat batteries. However, a thermostat is considered the brain of your HVAC system. So, failure to check and replace the batteries as needed can prevent your HVAC from working since dead batteries block and won’t allow you to send startup commands to the HVAC system. This can cause inconvenience since you won’t be able to use your heating system as much as you’d like to.
Replacing the battery is pretty straightforward- you can always refer to your thermostat instructions manual and find out how to open and replace the battery. Most thermostats offer battery access at the front panel, allowing you to pull and replace the battery easily.
Wrapping It Up
With winter approaching, your home’s heating system will soon kick into gears. And as it gets colder, you’ll be relying on your HVAC system’s efficiency to keep you and your family warm and comfortable at home. Therefore, it’s vital to conduct the necessary steps to maintain it and ensure it’s in top shape during winter.
As a good start, you can keep in mind the tips and insights discussed in this article. Moreover, don’t forget to have your home’s HVAC system routinely inspected and maintained by professionals to ensure it remains functional for years to come.