8 Ways to Prep Your HVAC System for the Winter Season

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It’s that time of year again! Another season to prep for as the cold weather returns. It is essential to always prep your HVAC system for winter just as you would anything else.

Think of the steps you take to set yourself up for success during the winter months. This could include changing out your wardrobe, doing a final cleanup outside your house, or even changing your tires depending on where you live. All these steps set you up for a successful winter season in all aspects of your life. Caring for your HVAC unit is no different and needs the same level of care to get you through those cold winter months.

8 Tips for Getting Your HVAC Ready for Winter

  1. Inspect
  2. Clean Ducts
  3. Clean Outdoors
  4. Change the Filter
  5. Set Your Thermostat
  6. Run a Sound Check
  7. Check Your Insulation
  8. Schedule Future Maintenance

Tip #1. Inspect Your System

It is essential to inspect your system for any apparent damage that it may have. If damage is present, it is important to get a quote or replace the damaged parts as soon as you can. Caring for your HVAC is crucial—ensuring there is no damage to your unit keeps your system running efficiently.

Tip #2. Inspect and Clean Your Ductwork

Take time to inspect and clean your ductwork. Your HVAC ducts should be in good condition with no gaps, damage, or disconnections throughout. If you cannot inspect or repair anything you see yourself, hire a professional to do it for you. Properly caring for your HVAC ducts plays a significant role in their efficiency. A leak in your HVAC ducts can cause up to 30% heat loss, costing you money and straining your equipment.

Tip #3. Clean Your Outdoor Unit

If you have an outdoor HVAC unit, you want to keep it as clear as you can. Make sure to turn your exterior air conditioning system off to prevent any accidental use during the winter. While a protective cover is not necessary to protect your air conditioner unit from any elements, keep it clear of snow, leaves, sticks, and any branches as often as you can to avoid any damage to the unit.

Tip #4. Change the Filters

Air filters are incredibly crucial to the success of your HVAC unit. Caring for your HVAC system includes replacing your air filters to avoid damage to any internal components. In addition, it is recommended to inspect your filters monthly to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and debris and replace them as often as you can for optimal efficiency. A dirty filter cannot successfully do its job and prevents proper airflow through your house.

Tip #5. Program Your Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, but you have the option to put one in, you should opt to do so. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your house cooler when you aren’t home and adjust to a higher temperature closer to your arrival. This saves you money and is energy efficient. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, make a note to adjust your thermostat when you are out of the house for extended periods.

Tip #6. Turn the Heat on and Perform a Sound Check

If the cold weather is fast approaching, it is wise to take your heat for a test run! On average, testing should take place on three different days. Set your thermostat and allow the heat to run for at least a few hours to confirm that it works and will start, stop, and cycle when expected to. If the heat fails to turn on, you can tackle it before a cold day by hiring someone to look at your system.

You should also be performing a soundcheck when you turn the heat on to ensure that you can’t hear any noises. Apart from the typical hum of your system, if you hear other noises, they may need to be addressed. For example, louder noises can be a sign of a bad burner or other issues in need of repair. When caring for your HVAC unit, it is essential to know its needs and sounds so you can assess if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Tip #7.  Check Your Home’s Insulation.

Your home’s insulation is key to holding the heat in your house, minimizing the amount of work your system must perform. You can have professionals update your insulation, or you can tackle it yourself. Make sure to focus on the colder areas of your home and do your research on how best to add to your current insulation. This will keep your house warmer while preventing a significant strain on your system. If you are caring for your HVAC unit, you want it to last for an extended amount of time so avoiding any unnecessary strain is crucial.

Tip #8. Schedule Routine Maintenance

It is imperative to schedule routine maintenance at least once a year. This is a crucial part of caring for your HVAC unit. Maintenance should be done by a professional who knows what to look for and has the proper tools to complete the tasks. Average routine maintenance usually takes one to two hours to complete. During that maintenance, a technician will complete four standard steps:

Proper Inspection of the System and its Overall Condition

  • Clean the Condenser and Evaporator Coils
  • Clean the Blower Motor
  • Complete an Operations Test to Ensure Proper Operation

This routine maintenance will keep your system running efficiently and helps to prevent costly repairs in the future. Consistently caring for your HVAC and completing routine maintenance will only benefit your unit, including saving you money and time.

Caring for Your HVAC

These eight tips will make caring for your HVAC unit a breeze. As you continue to prepare for the winter season, take special care of your HVAC unit, so you’re fully prepared before that first cold day arrives. That way, if repairs are necessary, there is plenty of time to complete them before you need to make the full switch for the winter season. Now you are ready for that cold weather and can relax knowing your system is working at its best!