In many parts of the country, winter has arrived with gusto. Whether you’re in an area that gets mountains of snow or somewhere more temperate, preparing your HVAC systems for winter is a must.
Taking the time to schedule these home maintenance tasks will extend the lifespan of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems while driving down your power bill. Here are five essential HVAC tips to help you prepare for winter.
Schedule a Maintenance Check
If you haven’t scheduled a fall maintenance check and tune-up, now is the time to get it done. Ideally, you’ll have someone look at your furnace before the temperature plummets. There’s nothing worse than waking up on the first cold day, turning your heat on, and getting nothing.
According to the experts at Jenning’s heating, cooling, electrician services in Kent, OH, where temperatures plummet below 20°F in January, it’s also important to check your water heater. Look for a service that covers your various home systems to ensure everything is running smoothly before the first snowflake hits the ground.
Invest in a Cover
The day you turn off your air conditioning for the year is a sad day, indeed. In addition to having a technician perform routine maintenance on your external air conditioning unit, you should also consider investing in a cover.
There is controversy over whether you should use a cover or not. While many units are prepared for cold temperatures, there are other factors to consider. During the fall, leaves and debris can get into your external unit and cause problems. Moisture from fluctuating winter temperatures can also be damaging.
The primary concerns of using a cover are moisture build-up and pests seeking warmth. Talk to your HVAC specialist and get a recommendation for a high-quality cover that’s catered to your specific unit; it’s typically the low-quality ones that cause issues.
Check Your Vents and Filters
You should also check your vents and filters before the winter hits. Changing the filters is typically a part of a maintenance visit, so if you’ve opted to forgo that visit, you should still address this chore.
Cleaning vents and filters removes debris that could cause your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to. Over time, this issue will shorten the lifespan of your various systems. Furthermore, dirty filters impact the air quality in your home, making you more susceptible to allergens and illness. While you’re managing this task, you should also vacuum your air vents and your dryer vent.
Adjust Your Humidity Levels
Homeowners typically struggle with dry air during the winter, but too much humidity can also be an issue. Humidity levels impact how we perceive the temperature of the room. High humidity will make you feel colder in the winter, which may encourage you to crank up the thermostat. Instead, focus on reducing the humidity.
Many HVAC systems have simple controls where you can adjust the humidity settings, while some are more complex. Talk to your technician about your system and address any concerns you may have. Ideally, your humidity level should be around 40%.
Insulate and Seal
Even if you have newer windows and feel comfortable in your home, adding extra layers of protection can help cut your long-term HVAC costs. Similar to cleaning the filters, sealing drafts and adding insulation prevents your systems from working harder than they need to.
Check your attic and ensure that there’s enough insulation to surpass the joists. If not, top it up with another layer. Use a draft detector to find and seal air leaks as needed with caulking and weather stripping.
These simple tasks can help extend the lifespan of your HVAC by reducing wear and tear. The efforts will also pay dividends in how warm and comfortable your home feels this winter.