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Here's How to Prepare Your HVAC System for Fall

During the fall season in Louisville, we have cooler weather and homeowners are able to tackle many tasks around the home in preparation for winter. One important task on your to-do list should be to prepare HVAC system for fall so your HVAC system will be working properly once the colder season arrives.

Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing provides a detailed explanation of the steps needed to prepare your HVAC system for fall and close down your air conditioning system for the season. Follow these steps and you can improve your unit’s performance while verifying it is operating correctly before the start of winter. We share information about the fall maintenance check-up, changing air filters, making HVAC unit repairs when you hear unusual noises, and further increasing the energy efficiency of the unit to limit energy waste and lower your energy bill once the seasons change.

1. A Maintenance Checkup Helps Prepare Your HVAC for Heating Season

If there’s only one thing you do to get your furnace, heat pump, or boiler ready for the winter, it should be having a regular maintenance tune-up performed. While we don’t recommend depending on just a maintenance check to care for your system in the fall, it is a critically important service that does a lot of good for HVAC systems.

An HVAC technician should perform a check-up each fall for your heating unit. This visit provides service for important components and tests operation to verify the system is working properly and at its most efficient. This one to two-hour appointment includes work such as:

  1. Adding Lubrication to Motor Bearings
  2. Tightening Up Connection Terminals to Curb Electrical Damage
  3. Checking the Condition of the Heat Exchangers
  4. Testing the Thermostat’s Communication
  5. Cleaning Chambers to Prevent Dirt and Debris Buildup
  6. Removing Dirt From Coils for Better Heat Transfer

Regular heating maintenance doesn’t just provide preventative care for your heating and air conditioning system, it provides a chance for problematic conditions to be uncovered and corrected before they are able to inflict serious damage on your heating unit. This professional inspection could spare you costly repairs and a loss of heat come winter.

Contact your HVAC company and ask what maintenance plans they offer to simplify these system needs. Many contractors offer maintenance plans to ensure their customers’ heating equipment gets the regular service it needs each year. Plus, you may also receive benefits like discounts on HVAC services or money off new equipment when it’s time to replace the old HVAC unit.

2. Schedule Heating Repairs in the Fall

If your heating system showed minor issues last year, it’s likely you may have ignored them if spring was almost here. If this matches your situation, have these problems fixed now before the start of heating season. A skilled technician is able to examine your unit and identify issues resulting in poor system performance, high energy consumption, and those causing damage to your unit. Problems such as a grounded or shorted wire or stuck limit switch can be easily fixed so your heating system delivers the reliable warm air you want without using too much energy in the process.

You want to contact your HVAC company about furnace repair before the colder season is upon us. It’s easy to forget heat problems after relying on your air conditioning for the past several months – contractors typically experience a flood of repair calls on the first cold day of the year from other homeowners who didn’t take care of heating issues ahead of time.

3. Replace Air Filters After Summer Ends

Summer is high use season for air conditioning units and clogged filters happen much faster than milder times of the year. Once summer is over and your HVAC units take a break, replace air filters so you’re ready to start fresh when temperatures fall.

Remove the old filter and replace it with a new furnace filter so your system has good filtration and proper airflow when it’s time to heat the house. This will help you avoid damage caused by clogged filters like overheating and wasted energy consumption.

4. Keep up with Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct that occurs when fuel doesn’t combust completely in a gas furnace or boiler. If you use this type of HVAC equipment to heat your home, carbon monoxide detectors are a must. You should have at least one installed on each floor of the house.

Change batteries in each device before winter arrives. Also, test each carbon monoxide alarm on a monthly basis. Hold in the button and wait until the alarm sounds. If the alert is weak and soft, install a new one. Also, replace these alarms once they reach 10 years of age – the back will show a manufacturing or expiration date so you know when to do so.

5. Cleaning up Your Outdoor Unit

The air conditioning unit or heat pump outside your home benefits from regular cleaning. Even if your outdoor unit goes to an air conditioning-only system, you should still clean it this time of year. A good cleaning prevents airflow issues and protects the unit from damage caused by nearby vegetation and personal items.

  1. Take a soft brush and clear off grass clippings, leaves, and other debris that have stuck on the fins that enclose the coils of the unit.
  2. Pull up weeds and vines growing along the system from the ground beneath.
  3. Prune any bushes growing in the nearby area.
  4. Trim trees on your property to rid the area of dead branches that could fall and damage the system.
  5. Keep outdoor items like grills and patio sets stored away from your outdoor unit. At least two feet of clear space should be left on all sides of the system at all times.

6. You Can Cover Your Air Conditioner

You may have seen air conditioner covers advertised online or at your local home improvement store. Even though these products are available, that doesn’t mean they need to be used. It is safe to cover your air conditioner if you do it the right way – it could cause damage to the system if you don’t do it properly.

  • Wait until the equipment is dry on the inside and outside before covering it for winter. Otherwise, moisture could lead to mold growth on coils and elsewhere.
  • You can also cut some plywood to sit atop the unit and secure it to protect the unit from falling debris while safeguarding against moisture problems.
  • Make sure you remove the cover before you wish to turn on your air conditioning next spring or the system could sustain severe damage!

7. Inspect for Airflow Issues and Prevent Drafts

HVAC maintenance and filter replacement help homeowners maintain proper airflow through HVAC equipment, but more work can be done. Check these areas to ensure your home stays as comfortable as possible this winter.

  1. Take a look at supply and return vents. Louvered covers should be open and vents should not be blocked by furniture, carpet, and other materials.
  2. If vents appear dirty, clean covers by wiping them down with a dry cloth or removing the cover and washing it with warm water and soap. Let each cover dry completely before replacing it over the vent.
  3. Look over any ductwork you have access to. Check for visible damage like disconnections and tears in flexible ducts. Contact your HVAC company about duct sealing services to close gaps in ducts that allow warm air to escape the duct system, forcing it to be wasted in areas other than where you intend this heating to go.

Get Ready for Winter in Louisville

Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing wants you to be ready for cold weather before the end of fall. For heating maintenance and repair services, give our team a call to schedule your appointment today!

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