AC and Heating Tip from AC Express
Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips
For many, fall is a time of much joy and excitement. For those in school, this might not always hold true, but even then, the impending approach of both Halloween and Thanksgiving lend fall a certain magic. And for those in the hotter parts of the country, fall also represents the final reprieve from the often times oppressive heat of the summer. This may mean you find yourself slowly reducing your Austin air conditioning use as the weather gets milder and more pleasant. But don’t be mistaken, just because your air conditioner isn’t working as hard during the fall doesn’t mean that it should be neglected.
It’s generally considered a smart move to approach HVAC maintenance from a preventative standpoint. And the best way to do that is to follow some sort of maintenance schedule, getting these easy DIY HVAC maintenance tasks done is an important part of keeping your HVAC system healthy. One easy way to remember to do this regularly is to make sure you take a look at all of the following areas of concern once every season. So without further ado, here are some HVAC maintenance tips for the fall that are worth checking off your home maintenance list.
Air Filter Replacement
Predictively first on the list, air filter replacement is something that any homeowner should not only know how to do, but know how to do on a regular basis. Filters are vital for airflow and efficiency, so make sure you change yours according to the package directions. This needs to be done more often than once a season but it’s worth throwing it in there with the other fall maintenance tasks just to double check.
Most filters last from one to three months before getting choked with dust and debris. After that, you’re going to see some potentially serious consequences if you don’t have yours changed. A clean air filter can increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and can also help to keep your family healthy by decreasing allergens in your home. So really there’s no reason to skip this one. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on the air filter you have currently to see how often it is recommended that your air filter be changed. Set a reminder on your phone or computer to help you with this task. It isn’t difficult to change air filters, but sometimes it can be difficult to remember and stay on schedule with your filter changes. That’s why making sure to start the fall off with fresh air filters is a great way to get on track.
Check the Air Seal
By air seal, I’m of course referring to the quality of your home’s insulation, especially in areas where drafts and air leaks often occur, such as doors and windows. Checking for drafts is an easy maintenance task that you can do every now and then to check up on the status of your home’s air seal and thus be aware if you need to bolster it.
Why is this a big deal? Well, drafty windows and doors are the first culprit of low energy efficiency. Not only do they let cold air into your home, they let all of the hot air out. Check the caulking and window-stripping on your windows and doors and replace anything that is broken or cracked. You should also seal the attic with weather-stripping and clean the chimney, if applicable.
Finally, check your insulation for damage and look at places that would benefit from additional insulation, like crawlspaces, attics and basements. Insulation slows the heat transfer through building materials so it can help maintain your home temperature and alleviate some stress on your HVAC system. All of these small projects will go a long way in preventing the heat from leaching out of your home.
Now, improving insulation in general is a topic all of its own, so this isn’t exactly something that you should have to do with ever change of the season, but, in general, giving your home a once over to check where improvements could be made is beneficial in the long run. Knowledge is power, and knowing how you could make your HVAC system’s job easier is powerful knowledge.
Inspect the Exterior
We’ve already had a couple of fall storms this year but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to check on your home’s exterior and see if there’s any lacking protection. For example, you can look for cracks in your home’s foundation and seal them properly to prevent cold drafts from getting inside. Cracks in your foundation or near windows also function as an entryway for unwanted critters like mice.
The roof is another obvious area of concern. It’s important to check your roof for problems before the cold and stormy weather of winter comes. Check for loose shingles and make any necessary repairs. Don’t forget to check your gutters while you’re on the roof. We’re in the middle of fall now so it’s a great time to clean your gutters after the leaves have fallen.
And the gutters aren’t the only place where you need to watch out for leaf buildup. Fallen leaves also have a tendency to get caught up in the outdoor unit of your air conditioner, which can potentially cause serious problems, and can even be a fire hazard. So now is a great time to clear away any leaves, dirt, and debris from your outdoor unit to ensure that airflow isn’t being restricted for the health of your entire system.
Keep the Air Clear
Good air flow is essential to indoor air quality. And good indoor air quality is an essential part of a healthy, happy home. That’s why it’s worth routinely checking parts of your home such as the vents and ducts to make sure you don’t have any obvious air flow hindrances.
First step in this is to make sure all your vents are open. If you’ve ever heard that you should close air duct vents in rooms you’re not using, don’t heed that advice. When a vent is closed, air can’t travel correctly through your home, which makes your system to work harder than it has to. To get optimum air circulation in your home, open your closed vents and let your HVAC system do its job to achieve maximum efficiency.
Also, inspect all of the vents and registers for any obstructions and vacuum out all of the summer dust. Then look for any furniture that might be blocking the vents and consider redecorating to maximize the airflow. In addition, you can try adjusting the blades on your ceiling fans clockwise to help pull the air up to the ceiling.
Reevaluate Your Thermostat Settings
The thermostat in your home is the unsung hero of your HVAC system. With it, you have control over the air in your home but with the control comes responsibility. It can be very easy to forget about the thermostat after setting it to a comfortable temperature once but you’re missing out on a lot of energy savings by doing so.
That’s why, if your thermostat is programmable, make sure you adjust it accordingly as the weather changes. Most programmable thermostats have separate heating and cooling settings with time periods that need to be programmed separately. Make sure that your thermostat is set for maximum efficiency, especially for periods when no one will be home.
If you’re rocking a standard thermostat, that’s okay, you can get the same effect by simply changing the settings manually each day. This is hard habit to keep up though, so this might be a good time to consider upgrading to a programmable smart thermostat so you can set it to your schedule, lowering the temperature during times you won’t be at home. This way, you can make sure your Austin air conditioning, and soon, heating, isn’t working extra hard when it doesn’t have to be. Not only will this extend the lifespan of your system, it will save you big bucks on energy bills as well.
It may also be worth doing a quick temperature test to make sure your thermostat is working as it should. Use a separate temperature reader to make sure your home is at the temperature your thermostat says it is.
Fall Maintenance and Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
All in all, you get out of your HVAC system what you put into it. And a little careful maintenance goes a long way in terms of optimizing energy efficiency and minimizing wear and tear on your HVAC equipment. Doing these simple maintenance tasks every season, including fall, is a great way to make sure you’re doing what you can to prolong your air conditioner and heater’s lifespan and get the most you can out of them.
And if you find you need AC repair in Austin, consider AC Express. AC Express is an Austin AC repair company whose service area includes everything from Leander and Cedar Park to Lakeway and Pflugerville. Call today to get quality same day AC repair in Austin!
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