To-do lists often grow as the seasons change from warm to chilly. One thing that can often be overlooked is preparing your HVAC system for the upcoming heating season. If it’s going to be your first time getting your HVAC ready for the colder months and you’re not sure what needs to be done, we are here to guide you through. Here’s everything that you need to do so that you can prepare your HVAC system for freezing temperatures.
Cleaning the Ducts and Filters
Whatever type of HVAC system you have, some seasonal cleaning is necessary. As temperatures drop, you might notice a burning smell when you turn on your furnace. This results from the accumulation of dust and debris throughout the summer. Cleaning out the ducts ahead of running the furnace minimizes the chance of encountering this type of unpleasant smell.
You are also going to want to change out the air filter, especially if you have not done so in a while. It’s generally recommended that you change your air filters every 30 to 90 days. If your air filter has not been swapped out for a new one since before the summer, it’s time to switch it out to help your system run smoothly and save you money on your energy bill.
Check Your Home for Any Blocked Vents
Check all of your vents for potential blockages. This means going around to each vent in your home and ensuring that there are no toys, furniture, or other items that are impeding proper airflow.
Prepare the Outdoor Condenser Unit
Turn off the power to your outdoor condenser unit once the temperature gets any lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have shut off power to the system, clean the outside of the unit by removing any debris that may have collected on it or that may be working its way inside. Look around the area and see if there is the potential for any trees or branches to fall on the unit during a winter storm. If so, trim them back so that your unit isn’t in any danger.
Program Your Thermostat for the Winter
One important thing to do when the weather is heading into freezing temperatures is to make sure you have your thermostat programmed ahead of time. As it gets colder, it can be easy for someone in the household to reach for the thermostat and overcompensate anytime it gets cold. If you program your thermostat in advance and pick smart but comfortable energy-efficient settings, you can avoid this knee-jerk reaction from those in your household and prevent your heating bill from skyrocketing.
Take Your HVAC for a Winter Test Run
Ahead of actually needing to run your heating system, you should give it a test run. Turn the heat higher than the indoor temperature, and confirm that everything is working as it should be. Be on the lookout for any unusual smells or sounds. Make sure that all of the rooms that have vents are getting properly heated. It’s worth doing test runs at least three times on separate occasions to ensure that everything is as it should be and that nothing was missed during the initial test. Test runs also help to work out any kinks from lack of use so that it’s primed and ready to go for the winter.
Get That Upgrade
If you have been planning on upgrading your HVAC system, do not wait until it’s freezing outside to do it. Winter is not the time to make this kind of change, as you might be without heat while the new system is installed. HVAC companies are also quite busy during the winter doing emergency repairs, so that could mean an even longer wait before your new system is up. If you are going to upgrade your system, get it done in the fall.
The fall would also be the time to switch over to utilizing a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one, install UV lights, or make any other changes to your system that you have been meaning to do.
Set Your Ceiling Fans To Run Clockwise
Ceiling fans have a switch on them that selects whether they run counterclockwise or clockwise. If they are remote-controlled, then there is usually a button that changes the direction on there as well. Changing your ceiling fans to run clockwise during the winter is an important factor in maximizing the efficiency of your heating system. With your ceiling fans running clockwise, heat is pulled down from the ceiling and then dispersed evenly throughout a room. This helps you stay warmer and prevents cold spots that will have you reaching for the thermostat.
Using your ceiling fans to help better distribute the warmth from your heating system can allow you to have the temperature on the thermostat set up to seven degrees lower and still feel comfortable. This also aids in keeping your utility bills low during a time of year when most people are trying to be careful with their finances.
Things To Do Once It’s Freezing Outside
Now that we have gone over everything that you should do for your HVAC system ahead of New Jersey reaching freezing temperatures, here are some things that you should do once the cold hits.
Keep Ice and Snow From Building Up
While your system is designed to withstand freezing temperatures, there is still the potential that it could freeze over. The best way to prevent this from happening is by keeping the space around your outdoor AC unit clear of snow and ice. If there is heavy snowfall, clear 18 inches around the unit before the snow hardens. Remove any ice that builds up, being careful when you do it so that coils and fins are not damaged. Also, clear away any hanging icicles that could fall onto the unit.
Keep the Exhaust Clear
Make sure that your furnace exhaust does not get blocked by snow. This could prevent your unit from working properly and could also result in carbon monoxide working its way into your home.
Keep the Air Intake Vent Unblocked
Regularly check your intake vent so that new air can get into your home. If your intake vent becomes blocked with snow, your system can become starved of the air that it requires for combustion.
Consult With a Professional About Preparing Your HVAC System for Freezing Temperatures
If you are in Metuchen, NJ, or the surrounding area, our team at First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning would love to speak to you about getting your HVAC system prepared for freezing temperatures. We have been serving the community for over 20 years and are the area’s go-to for a myriad of heating and cooling needs as well as plumbing services. Whether it’s a repair, an installation, or a routine maintenance inspection that you are looking for, First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has you covered. If you are ready for service that you will be happy with from start to finish, give First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call today.