How To Prepare the Heating System for the Cold Fall and Winter
Fall is here, and aside from the falling leaves, shorter days, and pumpkin spice goodies, it brings cooler days and chilly nights. So naturally, it’s time for homeowners to turn off the air conditioner and fire up the heater or furnace. But after being used all of last winter and then sitting inactive all summer, the heating system may have some issues that need addressing before the cold weather arrives.
Too often, homeowners go into the colder months with a heater that hasn’t been properly maintained only to encounter problems like poor heating performance, high energy bills, or even a sudden heater breakdown. This article will share a few tips to help prepare the heater for the workload it will face through the fall and winter months ahead!
Schedule Professional Heater Maintenance
Perhaps the most powerful way to get the heater ready for fall is to have it serviced by a qualified HVAC professional. This involves a variety of tasks that homeowners can’t (or shouldn’t attempt to) tackle on their own – such as lubricating moving parts, inspecting bearings and fan belts for damage (and replacing them if need be), checking the amperage of the blower motor, checking electrical connections, cleaning gas burners and other internal components, and testing thermocouples and other safety devices for proper function.
HVAC technicians have the training and tools to recognize and resolve any issues that can cause bigger problems down the road, so homeowners don’t have to worry about their heater breaking down in the middle of a frigid winter night. Routine heater maintenance also helps keep the system functioning at peak efficiency. It mitigates the effects of normal wear & tear, so annual tune-ups can save money on energy bills and premature heater repair or replacement!
Change the Air Filters On Time
Homeowners may be unable to tackle the more in-depth items on a professional heating maintenance checklist, but they can do their part simply by replacing the HVAC air filters before they get too dirty. The air filters capture airborne pollutants like hair, dust, and dander as the heating system pulls air through the main return vent to be heated and recirculated throughout the home.
But if the air filter is clogged with dirt and dust, it will be less effective at capturing other pollutants and make it harder for the blower fan to pull air through the filter. This can result in poor heating performance, reduced energy efficiency, and increased stress on the blower motor and other components.
Replacing the air filters on time is critical for maintaining good indoor air quality, reducing unnecessary energy consumption, and preventing damage to the system. But how often should the air filters be replaced? For most homes, the air filters should be replaced every 3 months. If anyone in the home has asthma, allergies, or other respiratory sensitivities, if there are several indoor pets in the house, or if the house tends to accumulate a lot of dust, then homeowners may want to change the filters every 1 to 2 months instead.
Track Energy Usage – And Look for Ways To Reduce It
Staying on top of professional heating maintenance and air filter replacement will go a long way in preparing the heating system for the colder months, but homeowners can go the extra mile by keeping an eye on their energy usage. Since the HVAC system tends to be the single biggest source of energy consumption in the home, unexpected spikes in energy usage often point to a problem with the air conditioner or heater.
As the weather gets colder, homeowners can pay close attention to their energy bills and usage statistics. They can then try different ways to improve efficiency and see how their energy usage changes. One great way to help improve heating efficiency is to add weatherstripping to doors and windows. This can greatly reduce the loss of warm air due to leakage, allowing the heater to work less hard to keep the home at the correct temperature.
Homeowners should also consider installing a smart thermostat, particularly if their energy bills seem unusually high. Smart thermostats have various features specifically designed to improve energy efficiency, such as remote thermostat control via smartphone, occupancy sensors (to avoid heating an empty home), and weather alerts. Some smart thermostats even track usage patterns and suggest (or automatically make) adjustments to improve efficiency – so homeowners can reduce their heating costs and stay cozy throughout the fall and winter!
About Easco Air Conditioning and Heating
Easco Air Conditioning and Heating has been one of The Woodlands's most trusted and highly-rated HVAC companies since 1982. Their trustworthy, licensed technicians always arrive on time in fully-stocked trucks and do the job right the first time. Easco offers fast turnarounds, competitive up-front pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and a money-saving maintenance plan, so there’s no one better to call for heater maintenance in The Woodlands, TX!