Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips
With fall in full swing and winter on the horizon, what do you need to know about autumn HVAC maintenance? Before the winter chill arrives, take a look at what you need to know about pre-season system care.
Schedule a Checkup
It’s not too late for preventative HVAC care. Even though the cooler fall nights may mean you switched your system from AC to heater mode, you still have time to get pre-winter maintenance services.
Maintenance partway through the season is better than no maintenance at all. Not only can this beneficial service prevent future problems, but it can also increase efficiency and extend the life of your furnace.
If your HVAC system uses the same ductwork and filter for air conditioning and heating, summer-time use has likely left behind dust and debris. Beyond cleaning or replacing the filter, the technician can inspect the unit itself as well as the ducts. This can reduce the risk of surprise problems as you continue to use the system over the fall and winter months.
Clear the AC’s Area
Did your garden grow over your outdoor AC condenser? Whether vines have tangled themselves around the unit, leaf debris has gathered underneath it, or grass clippings have coated the entire thing, you need to clean this vital part of the HVAC system now.
Clear the area around the unit and keep it free from yard and plant waste. The fall clean-up adds to your home’s exterior aesthetics and reduces the risks of debris-related damage.
The up and down of fall weather means you may have to use the air conditioner at some point in the autumn season. A clean, well-maintained unit is ideal — even if you only use it a few times.
Replace the Filter
Some HVAC companies offer a filter inspection and cleaning or replacement service during a pre-season checkup. Ask your service provider about this option before you schedule an appointment. If the technician doesn’t include this service in your maintenance visit, remove the filter and replace it before the fall-to-winter transition.
If you don’t have a disposable filter, clean the filter and remove any trapped debris. Don’t worry if you need to replace your filter. Now is the perfect time to upgrade to a filter with a higher MERV rating. This number indicates the efficiency of the filter. A higher MERV-rated filter is more productive and will help to keep the indoor air clear.
Change the Thermostat
Do you keep the thermostat on one setting for the season? If you don’t change the temperature setting often (or at all), now is the time to shift the dial. Even though the fall weather may stay at a temperate level, a slight cool down means you can turn the AC off. This can save you money during the fall season — especially if you don’t need to turn the heat on yet.
When the fall temperatures dip enough to require home heating, save money with a cooler setting. You won’t need to boost the indoor temperature as much now as you will in the months to come. This means it’s likely you can keep the temperature down for now.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 7 to 10 degree drop in thermostat setting can save you 10 percent a year on heating costs. If you can’t stand to set the winter-time temperature back, or just want to make your home more comfortable in the colder months, the fall is the perfect time to turn your thermostat to a low setting.
Do you need a fall furnace checkup? Contact JR Putman Plumbing, Heating and Air for more information.