Fall is right around the corner, and that means that the HVAC system needs its second tune-up of the year, or its first if it wasn’t tuned up in spring. Though ideally this means calling in an HVAC professional for maintenance and troubleshooting, there are still some things that a homeowner can do to make sure that their system is in good shape.
Find Leaks and Drafts and Close Them
Homeowners shouldn’t forget that the V in HVAC stands for ventilation. This is why they should check for any leaks and drafty areas around doors and windows. These leaks not only allow the warm air from even a brand new furnace leak to the outside, they allow cold air to come in. So, caulk and weatherstrip the doors and the windows, clean out the chimney, and replace worn-out insulation in the attic and the crawlspace or basement. Making sure that the house is well insulated during the cooler months cuts down on wear and tear to the rest of the HVAC system.
Be Attentive for Strange Noises
Another easy but important thing to do before the heating season is to listen for funny noises coming out of the HVAC system. These bangs or rattles are often caused by debris in the ductwork, blockages in the registers or loose nuts or bolts. If the homeowner hears funny noises, they should try to find the source and fix the problem if they can.
Shut Down the Air Conditioner
The temperature of the outside air and weather forecast can tell a homeowner when to shut down the air conditioning for the season. After clearing away debris, check it for damage then cover it up. Turn off its power source so that it’s not switched on by accident.
Change the Filter
The furnace filter should be changed every month or every three months anyway because the furnace helps the air conditioner work. Change the filters more if there are pets in the house or if the windows are kept open. A good tip is to change the furnace’s filter even while the air conditioner is still being used. It’s also a good idea to buy pleated air filters that can grab more particles of dust, mold and pathogens than regular filters.
Clean the Vents and Registers
Check to make sure that the vents and registers are clear. Remove any blockages, and vacuum them out.
Change the Rotation on the Ceiling Fans
If the house has ceiling fans, change the rotation so that the blades run clockwise. This pulls warm air up to the ceiling and helps keep the room comfortable. To change the rotation, find the little switch on the fan, and flip it. Another suggestion is to use fans only on that occasional warm autumn day to give the furnace a break.
Replace the Humidifier Pad
During the summer, the water supply to the furnace’s humidifier should have been off. During the cool months, it’s time to get a new humidifier pad. When the pad’s installed, professionals recommend that the relative humidity be set to between 35 and 45 percent. Then, turn the water supply back on.
Program the Thermostat
It’s time to set the thermostat at a higher temperature than it was at the height of summer. A newer thermostat that can be operated via wi-fi can be programmed depending on the temperature outside. Professionals also suggest setting the temperature to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and dialing it back as much as 15 degrees while the household is asleep. This saves an impressive amount on the heating bill.
Clear the Debris Around the Outdoor Unit
Whether the homeowner has a heat pump or condenser, they should clear the area around it of weeds and debris the same way they did at the beginning of the cooling season. Fallen leaves and other detritus can be used as shelter for vermin.