Winter is just around the corner, and dropping temperatures mean it’s just about time to switch your climate control from your air conditioning to your heating. While this is generally no more than a small flip of your thermostat, not preparing for the months of heating can lead to a number of serious problems. If you want to avoid costly high energy bills or even the need for emergency repairs, here is a simple five-step checklist you can follow that will get your heater ready for the weeks to come.
Change Your Air Filter
When was the last time you opened up your air conditioner or heater and changed out your air filter? A few months ago? More? More than a year ago? The overwhelming majority of people don’t change their HVAC air filter nearly often enough, and that could be hurting their equipment as well as their quality of life. Many heating and cooling problems can be traced back at least somewhat to a dirty air filter, and dirty air continually spreads foul odors, mold spores, and other HVAC issues throughout your home.
Before the start of the heating season, we strongly advise opening up your HVAC system or the grate on your return vent and swapping out the filter. Replacement air filters generally cost just a few dollars and make a tremendous difference in both the energy efficiency and reliability of your heater all season long.
Check Door & Window Seals
Doors and windows are the number one source of undesirable heat leaks during the winter season. No home will be completely sealed, but excessive leaks allow heated air to escape into the atmosphere—air you paid good money to heat. The seals around your doors and windows are designed to prevent these unwanted air leaks, but these seals don’t last forever. Because these seals need to be soft and flexible while still creating a solid barrier, they are generally made from soft plastic or rubber. However, these materials fall apart with prolonged exposure to the elements, meaning they need to be replaced.
We advise taking a few hours to look over all of the seals throughout your home and replacing any worn-out or damaged seals entirely. This doesn’t generally take too long (or cost a whole lot), but the difference it makes in your energy bills (and your home comfort) make it well worth the effort.
Check & Replace Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If your home depends on a fuel-powered furnace (either gas or oil-burning), then you absolutely need to protect your home with a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless toxic gas produced as an exhaust byproduct of burning fuel, and that means it’s present in any fuel-fired heating system. While this exhaust product is generally contained within your heater and properly exhausted through a sealed exhaust duct, any gaps or leaks in a critical component or your exhaust can create a slow leak into your home. And a carbon monoxide leak can be deadly.
We strongly advise positioning a carbon monoxide detector within a few feet of your furnace. Should your furnace start leaking this gas at dangerous levels, this detector will go off to alert you to the problem and allow you to take proper action quickly. Make sure this detector is battery powered so it will continue to run if the power goes out. If you already have one of these detectors, check the battery or even replace it to ensure your protection remains uninterrupted.
Set Your Thermostats Properly
If you have a multi-story home, properly setting your thermostats will save you money and help you avoid having an obnoxious temperature difference between levels of your home. Improperly set thermostats waste energy, waste heat, and create extra strain on your heater that can eventually lead to serious problems.
Set your upstairs thermostat two degrees lower than your downstairs system, and set your downstairs system to your desired temperature. Because warm air naturally rises, the warmer air from downstairs will float upward and warm the upstairs area. This will balance the temperature out and run one of your zones less often than the other, meaning less energy consumption.
Schedule a Heating Maintenance Service
Finally, the secret to a longer-lasting and more reliable heating system is proper maintenance and upkeep. With a professional tune-up and maintenance service, you’ll enjoy better reliability, better energy efficiency, and a longer-lasting heater in both the short and long term. And when you consider that the overwhelming majority of heating problems happen in the first cycle of the season, a tune-up service could potentially help you avoid the frustration of an issue right from the start.
We strongly advise booking a tune-up service this fall in order to protect your system from a stressful and frustrating problem.Schedule your tune-up appointment with the team at Bay Heating & Air Conditioning! Dial (440) 294-4954 today.