With winter just beginning, it’s important that your home’s HVAC system can handle the inevitable cold fronts in the coming months. Here are some tips to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the winter:
Check the filter
Filters may not seem like much at first, but they play a huge role in the effectiveness and efficiency of your home heating system.
Air filters keep dust, dirt and other debris from getting into your home. Once a filter has been installed for a while, these particles will build up on its surface. This not only decreases the effectiveness of the filter, meaning more dust will get into your home, but it also makes the heating system work harder to pass air through. This will severely impact your home’s heating costs.
A good rule of thumb is to check your filter every three months. While some can be cleaned, it’s often better to err on the side of caution and replace them outright if they look too dirty.
Check the belt and oil
Your home heating system isn’t that far removed from the engine of your car. Life your car engine, the system needs to be maintained in similar ways periodically.
If unchecked, dry or frayed belts can cause your home to be heated slower than normal. Insufficient home heating oil can increase friction and wear in the motor, greatly reducing the longevity of the system. Check each from time to time and replace them as necessary. As oil needs can vary from system to system, check your owner’s manual before proceeding.
Check the blower doors
The doors to the blower help protect your home from exhaust and other gasses produced by the system. During maintenance of the system, check that the doors are properly sealed. Also, as carbon monoxide is one of the gasses that the doors help protect from, install a carbon monoxide detector in your home as a safeguard in case the seals fail.
Check the vents
Go around your home to all exhaust and return vents to make sure air can flow freely out of and into them. If there is something in front of it, more it so that nothing is obstructing the vents.
This is also a good time to clean the vents themselves. Remove the vents and clean them with some lightly-soapy water. Clean the insides of the ducts at the openings as well to remove as much debris as possible from the interior of the system.
Check the exhaust flue
Home heating systems all have a way for exhaust to escape to the exterior of your home. Just like with the vents on the inside of your house, it’s important to make sure the flue is working properly, clean and clear of obstructions.
After checking the flue outside, be sure to also check all of the connections from the furnace to the flue that are on the inside of your home as well. Any leaks in the connections can be just as dangerous as poor seals on the blower doors.