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Ready Your Louisville Home for Winter with Our Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips

As fall brings cooler temperatures to the Louisville area, air conditioners across the city start going dormant. Locals know that winter is waiting right around the corner. Before it gets too chilly, enjoy the mild conditions during these cooler months and take the time to get home heating systems ready for the cold weather of winter!

Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing gives our neighbors a comprehensive plan for fall heating and furnace maintenance with our collection of fall HVAC maintenance tips. Our licensed HVAC team explains the steps to take once air conditioning season is over in order to prepare your heating system for what comes next. For better comfort and efficiency this winter season, take these steps in fall:

  • Have a professional fall HVAC maintenance tune-up performed on your furnace or heater.
  • Replace air filters to maintain proper airflow.
  • Clear debris from the outdoor condenser.
  • Open vents and remove items blocking registers.
  • Switch thermostat settings between summer and fall/winter temperature programs.

Trust the HVAC professionals on this – you don’t want to put this job off too long! Completing these HVAC maintenance tips will improve system performance to lower your energy bills, and increase your comfort. If you’re ready to book an appointment for professional preventative maintenance service, contact the Jarboe’s team today.

Schedule an HVAC Maintenance Tune-Up with Your HVAC Professional in Fall

If there’s one thing all HVAC professionals seem to agree on, it’s that heating and cooling system equipment needs annual tune-ups! It doesn’t matter if you have a new system or a unit that is several years old, this professional service will benefit your furnace, air conditioner, or other type of HVAC system in the long run. No matter what, a tune-up will help you save money, stay cozy, and reduce the number of headaches you experience with home heating systems this season.

When Should You Schedule an HVAC Tune-Up?

Your air conditioning unit needs spring maintenance service, while a furnace or boiler is commonly maintained in the fall. If you use a heat pump year-round, you’ll still schedule two tune-ups each year, but both will be performed on the single system as it doubles as both a heater and an air conditioning system.

What Benefits Does This Service Provide?

Benefits of preventative maintenance are both immediate and realized over years to come.

  • The immediate goal is to service HVAC system components in order to counteract any damage caused by wear and tear over the past year, keeping your system in good shape. Also, the system’s function and performance are tested and verified to ensure highest efficiency operation so heating the home costs less. Any flaws are found right away and corrected so the system is ready to run when you need it.

  • Over the course of the coming winter season, professional maintenance helps the heater avoid malfunctions that damage the unit and cause breakdowns. You’re less likely to be stuck waiting around for repairs in the cold months because any known flaws were fixed ahead of time and servicing improved the condition of parts so they aren’t likely to break. Paying for HVAC maintenance helps you save money when it comes to repairs, too.

  • Tune-ups benefit homeowners in the long run by helping heating systems avoid damaging breakdowns that cause the system to fail sooner than it should. You get more years out of the unit before you have to pay to replace it.

What Is Done During HVAC Maintenance Service?

The specific HVAC maintenance tips done by an HVAC professional differ based on what type of heating system you have – furnace, heat pump, or boiler. Common action items include:

  • Adding Lubrication to Bearings in the Blower Motor
  • Checking All Electrical Connections and Making Sure They’re Snug
  • Inspecting for Cracks on the Heat Exchanger
  • Cleaning Dust, Dirt, and Debris Buildup From the Coil of the Outdoor Condenser
  • Measuring Air Flow Rates and Temperature Drop

Fall HVAC Maintenance for Homeowners to Complete

You can’t just stop caring for your system after the professional fall HVAC maintenance appointment – this service is only part of the complete picture of heating and air conditioning care. The fall HVAC maintenance steps below aren’t only for this season but should be performed throughout the year for both your heater and your air conditioner.

Replace Air Filters

The air filter in a forced air heating system is typically disposable, meaning one won’t last forever. In the fall, when your air conditioning is taking a break, check the air filter to see if you’re due to replace it before using the furnace. Examine the air filter media between the frame – replace the air filter if the media is clogged with dust, debris, and dirt. If you can’t tell just by looking at the air filter, hold it up to a light – light shining through means the filter has more life left. Throughout the year, check air filters like this monthly, as you may find you need to replace them more often during certain seasons.

Maintain the Outdoor Unit

An air conditioning and heat pump system both have outdoor components. While air conditioners don’t run the outdoor unit over the cold months, heat pumps do. Keep the outdoor condenser clean and clear of debris for good airflow and efficient heat transfer. Leave two feet of open space on all sides of the unit. If the condenser coil is covered in dust and debris buildup, cleaning the coil can improve efficiency.

Keep Vents Open

Too often, homeowners still believe closing vents will save them money. Unfortunately, this is just a piece of bad information – it won’t lower your energy bills, but it could increase your repair bills by damaging your HVAC system! Over the fall, check all vents in your living areas.

  • Louvered covers should be open, and clean the cover if louvers are stuck closed or partially closed due to heavy dust and debris, as their position will block air movement through vents.

  • Move heavy furniture, rugs, and personal items blocking registers and vents on return and supply ducts.

Eliminate Drafty Areas

Your home can lose a significant portion of the warm air produced by the HVAC system in winter due to drafts. Before fall ends, hunt down drafty areas and seal them off. Common spots where heated air is lost are:

  • Between Windows and Their Frames
  • Between Doors and Door Jambs
  • Around the Exterior Framing of Windows and Doors
  • Attic Hatches
  • Areas Where Piping or Wires Run Through an Exterior Wall

Check Thermostat Settings and Update Temperature Schedules

Your household’s daily routine and preferred temperature will differ between summer air conditioning season and the cold weather months. During the mild fall, while the air conditioner and heater are in low demand, evaluate your temperature setpoints for cooling and change them over for heat. Take a look at daily changes to determine if the times your temperature adjustments start and end should be moved.

  • For best heating efficiency, set the thermostat at 68 degrees for times when the home is occupied and awake.

  • Save energy by adjusting settings down 7 to 10 degrees for periods of at least eight hours at a time. Sleep hours and work hours are easy times to save – reduce energy use up to 10% with this method!

  • Ensure the temperature readings are always accurate by replacing batteries in thermostats every six months. Do so even if the batteries are still powering the device and even if it is wired to the home’s electrical system – a tripped breaker could disrupt heating by cutting communication between the control and the HVAC unit.

Maintenance Tips and Safety

When natural gas, heating oil, or liquid propane heating systems are installed, homeowners need to know how to keep their families safe while using this equipment.

  • Don’t place flammable items or combustible products near the heater. Store them in another area of the home or far across the room. At least 30 inches of open space should surround the heater on all sides.

  • Each month, test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Replace smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every five to seven years – also replace them if the test function doesn’t produce a loud, reliable alarm.

  • Replace all smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm batteries every six months.

  • Don’t stress about a burning smell when you first run the heater in late fall – it’s usually just dust and dirt burning away. If the smell goes on more than an hour or the odor smells less like dust and more like metal or electrical burning, shut off the HVAC system and call a professional to inspect it before further use.

  • Natural gas leaks smell like rotten eggs. If you notice this odor inside, leave the house at once. Call 911, and do not reenter the home until you have been cleared to do so by safety personnel. Depending on the leak’s source, you may need to call your HVAC or plumbing professional, as faulty appliances like a furnace or water heater could cause the leak.

Complete Fall HVAC Maintenance Tips Today

The steps above will help you stay comfortable this year and trust your heating system for reliable performance. To book your professional maintenance service for fall or learn about our True Comfort Membership maintenance plans, call Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.

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