Preparing Your HVAC for the Winter

winterIt’s almost that time again. Time for the holidays. Time for wearing jackets and coats and drinking hot chocolate. And of course, time to prepare your furnace for the winter. Now that we’ve landed solidly in December there can be no question about it, the cold weather is upon us. And with it comes a host of potential greatness but also a host of potential problems if your heater isn’t properly prepared and taken care of. What could be worse than waking up in the middle of the night, freezing cold, and realizing that your heating in Austin is gone and your heater has given up?

That’s why in this tip we’re going to dive into all the things you can do to ensure that your heater has the best chance possible of making it through the winter season strong and steady. We’ll look at everything from what you can do by yourself, cleaning and regular maintenance to things that you should hire out an Austin heating professional for. The knowledge of how to take care of your heater so it can take care of you is invaluable, so let’s get started.

DIY Maintenance

There are some things that are better left to professional hands but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do yourself to keep your HVAC system nice and healthy. One of the best examples of this changing your air filter on a regular basis. This is perhaps your most important job when it comes to not just preparing your furnace for the winter but also keeping it in good shape and energy-efficient all year long.

Dirty filters will reduce the airflow, which in turn causes your system to have to work harder and use more energy, costing you money. Sometimes a new filter can make all the difference in a system’s performance. When filters are properly chosen and replaced, you’ll see a decrease in energy cost and an increase the air quality of your home or business and increase your system's efficiency. Air filters should be replaced or cleaned, depending on your type of filter, every one to three months.

You may have changed it at the end of the heating season, or then again, you may have forgotten. A new filter costs so little, while a furnace costs so much, why is risk damaging it? Replacing the filter (or cleaning a permanent filter) is easy and puts you well on your way to preparing your furnace for winter.

The next best thing you can do is make sure your home is clean. Manually remove all dust, dirt, and debris from your home. If your home is dusty, you can expect your ductwork to be the same. Your air filters work hard to remove particles from the air as they travel through your home, but it can only do so much. A little spot vacuuming can also go a long way when it comes to winter preparation. Use an ordinary vacuum to clean the room where your furnace works hard to keep you cozy. Gently vacuum electrical connections to keep them dust-free, and keep the floor clean so dust bunnies are not stirred and lifted onto the furnace.

Upgrades for a Better Winter

Sometimes what we have already is all fine and dandy but sometimes preparation means upgrading and adding. Preparing your HVAC system for the winter isn’t just about cleaning and maintaining what you’ve already got. For example, consider your thermostat for a second. It is the interface between you and your heater and also the source of information about what the heater is doing and when. So why would you want it to be outdated and potentially costing you money?

Older thermostats that use mercury can be very inaccurate. This means that you can set the temperature to what you think is adequate, but in reality, the heat will exceed your desired temperature, causing you unnecessary usage of electricity. Consider updating your thermostat to a digital one to ensure accurate temperature levels. In addition, digital thermostats can be programmed so you can set your heating to go on before you wake up or return home, and automatically turned off when you leave to work so you don’t forget to turn it off.

Even more important than your thermostat however is a carbon monoxide detector. If you have a gas-fueled furnace and you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home then this is the most urgent winter preparation task you have. Remember that carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless and invisible, making it extremely dangerous. Save yourself, possibly your family, and your pets by investing a few dollars in a carbon monoxide detector. You can install it around 15 feet away from the furnace.

Professional Maintenance

Some things are just better left to the professionals. One of those things is heater maintenance. All though there is a lot you can do on your own with a little instruction and care, there are so many reasons why you’re most likely better of getting an experienced and capable Austin heater repair technician to help you out in this avenue.

This is the heart of your preparation for the winter HVAC maintenance checklist, the arrival of the professional HVAC technician. Properly trained and equipped to work on your furnace, they will perform several key steps beyond the average homeowner’s abilities. One of those things is a thorough duct cleaning. Your HVAC system’s heating ducts should be cleaned periodically to allow efficient heating and provide fresh, clean air. Your technician will be able to thoroughly inspect your heating ducts to make sure there are no punctures, dents or disconnected parts. Damaged ducts can raise your heating bills by blowing wasted warm air. In addition, they’ll check to make sure the ducts are properly insulated so air won’t seep out of them.

Aside from just checking the heating duct, the HVAC technician can also inspect the heating systems belts, motors, electrical switches, thermostats, and gas pressure to ensure that your HVAC system is well prepared for the cold winter months. Work with a reputable contractor to ensure that you have an experienced technician providing you the much-needed service for your home heating systems.

Keep an Eye Out

One of the best things you can do to prepare your heater for the winter actually doesn’t involve touching the heating system at all. It just involves knowing what to look out for and what certain signs mean. This simply means staying aware and not ignoring anything out of the ordinary when it comes to your heaters behavior.

One aspect of this is about the cycles of on and off that your heater employs. Try to notice if it seems to be turning on and off more frequently than usual, as this is a likely sign that something is up. The opposite is also true. If the heater has been on for thirty minutes and the temperature in the house has barely risen then you might have a problem that could warrant a call to a contractor specializing in heater repair in Austin.

Smells and sounds are the other key signs you want to keep on the lookout for. You could start right now if you wanted. Just do a little soundcheck. Turn your unit on, and check for unusual sounds, like banging or rattling. Then keep your nose alert as well. If you smell anything that’s like rotten eggs, a musty smell, an old sock smell, or something of like, this could be anything from a minor to a serious issue and you’ll need the help of a professional to get to the bottom of it.

Preparing for Winter and Heating Repair in Austin

Wintertime is a magical time and one piece of the magic puzzle is the fact that as much as we enjoy being wrapped up in warm clothes in the cold outside when we’re home we want our heaters surrounding us with warm air. So, make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent any serious issues with your heater so that you don’t end up shelling out a ton of money on repair in the middle of winter. Follow some of the tips listed above and you should be smooth sailing throughout the cold months.

If you ever do need any sort of heater repair in Austin, don’t forget that AC Express does same day heater repair and heating service in Austin. We’re an Austin heater repair company that prides itself on delivering fully satisfactory service to people throughout the Austin area, from Kyle and Manor to Taylor and Round Rock. If you need heater repair in Austin, call us today!