Three-quarters of all homes have air conditioners in the U.S., and they are responsible for around 6% of all electricity consumed. However, when it comes time for winter, many people overlook the significance of preparing their HVAC. As the temperatures start to drop, here is what you need to do to make sure that your HVAC is ready.
Schedule a Maintenance Check-Up
If you have a new HVAC unit, you can expect it to last anywhere between 12 and 20 years. However, if your HVAC unit is getting up in years, it can be increasingly important to have it regularly maintained by a qualified technician. Having your HVAC maintained every spring and fall can help pinpoint issues that need to be fixed before winter comes around. These check-ups can also help ensure that your HVAC is as sustainable as possible and that no parts are at risk of going out when you need them most.
Before having a technician come out, be sure to take note of any strange noises, smells, or leaks that you have noticed so that they can address the issue once they get there. If you are unsure of the age of your unit, a technician will also be able to tell you the relative age of your HVAC as well as how long you have before you need to start considering replacement.
Turn Your Furnace On a Couple of Times Before Winter
Before the temperatures get too low in your area, it’s a good idea to turn your furnace on a couple of times to make sure that it is working correctly. Set your thermostat to your desired winter temperature and let your unit work before turning it back off. By doing this, you can make sure that it is working correctly and that you won’t have any problems when you really do need to turn it on. However, if you notice that your furnace isn’t turning on or it’s turning on and shutting off before hitting your set temperature, you’re going to want to call in a technician to check it out.
Replace Your Air Filter
Although you probably get tired of hearing it, replacing your unit’s air filter is extremely important and a dirty filter is one of the leading causes of unit breakdowns. Try to remember to check your filter at least once every month and wait no more than three months before replacing it. Although it can be easy to forget about, your HVAC system will thank you in the long run.
Additionally, you may want to consider having your vents cleaned out to allow air to flow more easily. Dirty or clogged vents can prevent air from moving through your home efficiently, making your HVAC need to work harder to maintain your desired temperature. This isn’t sustainable and you’ll definitely feel the difference if you’ve never had your vents cleaned out before.
Nothing lasts forever and this is certainly true when it comes to the essentials in your home. Just as tankless water heaters can last roughly 20 years, with conventional versions only lasting around 11, so too can your furnace wear out in between 10 to 20 years, depending on how well it has been maintained. If your furnace is getting older, it may be worth getting it replaced, rather than repaired. This is especially true if your water heater and furnace were put in at the same time and are aging at the same rate, as you don’t want to risk them both wearing out in close succession. Be sure to plan ahead and ask your maintenance technician what they would recommend so that you don’t end up footing a larger bill than needed or ending up without heat in the dead of winter.
Making sure that your furnace is prepared for winter is one of the best things you can do before the temperatures get too low. Not only can it help ensure that your winter energy use is sustainable, but it can prevent you from ending up with a breakdown when the temperatures are below freezing. If you haven’t yet, make sure to change your filter, test your unit, and get it maintained by a professional to ensure that it is in the best shape possible to keep you warm all winter long.