While the changing season provides a great opportunity for homeowners to save on HVAC costs by opening windows and temporarily powering down units, it will soon be time to turn on the heat.
Will your system be ready to handle this year's chill?
Regular preventive maintenance, performed twice a year, can help your system keep up with seasonal temperature swings. Plus, it can increase HVAC performance and help you avoid costly emergency repairs—because no one wants to be left without heat in the middle of a snowstorm. While most newer heating systems require little maintenance, a quick tune-up can greatly extend the life of your HVAC equipment, ensuring it always runs at peak efficiency.
As always, major furnace maintenance should be handled by a licensed HVAC technician. But there are some steps you can take on your own that can result in a more comfortable winter:
Turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance; wait for the blower to stop.
Replace air filters at least once every three months. Dirty filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in lower efficiency.
Run a sound check
Turn your unit on, and check for unusual sounds, like banging or rattling.
Look for signs of moisture
Check for moisture on windows, or rust or dirt accumulations on the vent pipe. This can indicate improper operation.
Assess the room temperature
Check your thermostat's temperature while the unit is on to ensure rooms are reaching their full comfort potential.
If, during your basic checklist rundown you discover any unusual noises, excess moisture or other signs your unit is not functioning properly, contact a certified HVAC technician. Your technician will perform a variety of diagnostic procedures in addition to regular pre-season maintenance. This will ensure that all parts are cleaned, drained and lubricated, and all assembly and burner controls are working correctly. A thorough inspection will also verify that the heat exchanger is doing its job and the flue system is free of cracks and corrosion.
Once maintenance is complete and your system is running at peak capacity, you can relax in the comfort of knowing your system will provide ample and consistent heat throughout the season.