The Importance of HVAC Maintenance Before the Winter Season
When the first cold snap hits Annapolis this winter, will your furnace be ready to keep your home warm and comfortable? The heating portion of your HVAC system has been dormant since last spring, so it’s wise to have it checked out by a professional before winter gets into full swing. Your home and family will benefit in many ways if you make HVAC maintenance a priority this fall.
What Does HVAC Maintenance Include?
A professional maintenance visit is more than just a quick once-over. When you choose Barstow and Sons to maintain your heating equipment this fall, you can expect the technicians to address your system’s unique needs. Every tune-up is a little different, but you can always expect the following to take place:
- Inspect and tighten electrical connections
- Check the thermostat and control systems
- Check the blower components
- Lubricate moving parts
- Check fuel connections for leaks
- Inspect and clean the furnace burner
- Check the ignition switch
- Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks
DIY HVAC Maintenance Tips Before Winter Comes
While in-depth maintenance is best left to a licensed heating and cooling technician, there are a few things you can do yourself to prepare your HVAC system for winter.
Retire Your Air Conditioner for the Season
Once you’re confident you have used your AC unit for the last time this year, you can prepare it for winter hibernation. Contrary to popular belief, you should not cover the outdoor unit with a tarp. This gives critters a place to hide and traps condensation against the metal, promoting rust. All you need to do is place a plywood board on top of the unit, weighed down with a brick or rock, to protect against falling icicles and debris that could damage the internal components.
Program the Thermostat for Winter
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one this fall. It allows you to program temperatures based on your schedule for maximum energy efficiency without sacrificing comfort. Now’s the time to switch from cooling to heating, which may also involve adjusting the pre-programmed schedule based on your family’s habits during the winter season.
Remove Clutter from Around the Furnace
It’s tempting to use your mechanical room as a storage space, but this isn’t wise. Your furnace needs room to “breathe,” and flammable items stored too close to the equipment could catch fire. For your peace of mind, remove boxes and anything else stored near the furnace before winter comes.
Change the Air Filter
Make a habit of checking your filter once a month, changing it when it appears clogged or every three months, whichever comes first. Ask your HVAC technician for tips if you use something besides a basic one-inch or pleated filter. HEPA and other high-end filters may last for a year, and some models can be washed and reused.
Open All Air Registers
It’s a common misconception that closing air vents in unused rooms saves energy and money. In reality, this throws off the airflow balance, straining the system and creating unnecessary wear and tear. To prevent this, always keep at least 80 percent of your home’s supply registers open at all times. Also, make sure return registers aren’t blocked by furniture, rugs, or curtains that could restrict airflow.
Look, Listen, and Feel for Signs of Trouble
Before turning on your furnace for the first time in months, check for signs of moisture, rust, or dirt on the vent pipe and around the heating equipment. Then, power on the heating cycle and listen for any strange banging, rattling, squealing, or other noises. Next, place your hand against various supply registers around the house to make sure the air feels nice and warm. If you discover anything unusual during these checks, shut off the furnace and call a technician right away.
The Importance of a Pre-Winter Furnace Tune-Up
Taking proper care of your furnace is important to help it operate efficiently and reliably all winter long. Here’s how scheduling a pre-winter furnace tune-up can benefit you.
Decrease the Risk of Breakdowns
When the temperature plummets outside, the last thing you need is a broken furnace. Unfortunately, your heating system is most likely to fail when you need it most. To avoid waking up in the middle of the night to a freezing house this winter, schedule a tune-up in the fall.
Reduce Your Repair Costs
Maintenance is an affordable, predictable investment that can save you money over the long term by eliminating the need for most repairs. This is possible because tune-ups catch developing problems early, remedying the issues before they lead to mid-season breakdowns and costly repairs.
Lower Your Energy Bills
No one wants to pay more than necessary to heat their home. Rest assured that your system performs at its peak when it’s clean, oiled, and tuned up. This amounts to lower energy bills without lowering your comfort level.
Extend the Life of Your System
Furnaces should last at least 10 to 15 years. However, neglected systems often fail sooner than this, wasting money on premature replacement costs. On the other hand, routine maintenance promotes season after season of reliable performance, adding years to your system’s lifespan and allowing you to go longer before replacing it.
Improve Home Comfort
Stuffy interiors and hot and cold pockets are common in homes with neglected HVAC systems. Your technician can address any comfort complaints you have, recommending solutions to improve airflow, control humidity, and even out the temperature.
Boost Indoor Air Quality
When you seal up your home tightly against the winter cold, you want the confidence of knowing your indoor air is safe and clean. Unfortunately, winter is a peak season for carbon monoxide poisoning, and neglected furnaces are a common culprit. During a tune-up, your technician will check for gas leaks, assess CO levels, and take other steps to boost indoor air quality all winter long.
Keep Your Warranty Valid
Most HVAC manufacturers require proof of maintenance when a customer submits a warranty claim. Otherwise, if a part fails prematurely, the manufacturer can chalk it up to neglect. To keep your warranty in effect, schedule seasonal tune-ups and hold onto the paperwork to prove you’re taking good care of your system.
Schedule HVAC Maintenance in Annapolis, MD
Annual preventative maintenance is the single best way to promote home comfort, low energy bills, and reliable HVAC performance. With over 40 years of experience to back us up, you know you can trust Barstow and Sons to perform a job well done. Fall is the ideal time to tune up your furnace, so contact us today at 410-777-9185 or schedule your appointment online before winter kicks in!
Barstow and Sons – http://www.barstowhvac.com/ | https://www.barstowhvac.com/about/blog/
Annapolis, MD/Anne Arundel County
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