It’s that time of year again. Fall is here and winter is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to check your HVAC system. Your heating and cooling system, like all major electrical appliances, needs regular maintenance to ensure it operates at peak performance, which can save you money and headaches down the road. Follow our fall maintenance checklist to keep your system running smoothly all season long.
Check and replace your filters – The most important thing you can do at home is inspect the air filter and change it as needed. A dirty or clogged filter makes your system operate less efficiently and can cause unnecessary wear and tear. A good rule of thumb is to replace your filter every month, especially during heating and cooling season.
Clean your registers – Keeping your registers and ducts clear of dust and debris is crucial for your HVAC system to run smoothly. Wipe down your registers often and have your duct system professionally cleaned and inspected at least once every three years.
Keep your AC and furnace clear of debris – Check your outdoor air conditioning unit for leaves, dirt, sticks, or other debris and if necessary, use a hose to clean the top and sides. Make sure the unit is turned off inside before cleaning. This allows for maximum airflow to the fan and increases the efficiency of your system. In addition, remove debris or anything that blocks airflow from your furnace and keep the area clean.
Use ceiling fans and give your HVAC system a break – Although summer is winding down, we’re still enjoying warmer weather that requires air conditioning. Instead of running the AC 24/7, try using ceiling fans to give your system a well-deserved break. On hot fall days, ceiling and portable fans circulate air through the home to help bring the temperature down quicker. On cooler days, try opening your windows and turning on the fans to circulate the cool air into the house to keep it comfortable. Giving your system a break will extend its life and save you money on repairs down the road.
Shut down the AC for winter and inspect it for damage – Running your air conditioner nonstop all summer can take a toll on the unit. When the cold weather hits, turn off your AC and check for damage such as cracks or leaks in the refrigerant lines. Also, check to see that the fan is operational and not damaged from falling debris.
Replace batteries on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – Fall is the perfect time to check all your home’s alarms. Alarms should be tested every six months. Replace the batteries if necessary.
Listen for unusual noises – Unusual noises coming from your HVAC system are often a result of blockages, debris in the vents, or loose bolts on the furnace or heat registers. If you hear an odd noise, try to locate the source, then call an HVAC technician for an inspection.
Turn on the heat now – Don’t wait until the first freeze to test your furnace. Turn on the heater now when temperatures are mild to check for any issues. It’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected and tuned up once a year. Call your heating and cooling technician to schedule an appointment.
Know when to call a pro – Many HVAC manufacturers require annual preventative inspections to maintain the unit’s warranty. Review your system’s warranty to determine whether you need professional service. It’s better to have your furnace inspected in the fall before the technicians get too busy. Your heating and cooling professional will check your system for issues, make adjustments to loose wires or bolts, and address any other problems you may have with your unit.
Following these fall maintenance tips will help prepare your home for winter and uncover any issues you may have that need professional attention. Planning early can prevent expensive repair costs and keep you comfortable all season long.