HVAC Fall Preparation Checklist: 5 Tips To Keep Your Home Comfortable In Fall & Winter
Fall is just a few weeks away and many people look forward to the beautiful colors of changing leaves, football season (Go Chiefs!), and sweater weather. We start counting the days until the stifling summer heat is over, as cooler temperatures are just around the corner. Here in the Midwest, we’re accustomed to drastic temperature swings that happen rapidly. It’s important to have your HVAC ready for the shift from hot to cold. To help you get ready for the Fall and Winter seasons, we here at Lancaster Brothers Heating & Cooling, have put together this HVAC fall preparation checklist for homeowners. These tips will help you understand and perform five simple steps to prepare your home’s HVAC system. In doing so, your system will be ready for the upcoming cold temperatures, so that you can stay comfortable all season long, while saving money on high energy bills.
Check Your Air Filters
If your air filters are due for a change, your heating and cooling systems have to work harder to move air through them. We recommend that in preparation for fall you check your air filters to see what kind of shape they’re in and if they need to be replaced. Your home’s heater will run more efficiently and be less likely to break down if you keep it clean. As a general rule, filters should be replaced approximately every three months, or when recommended by the filter manufacturer. Under certain conditions, though, they can become clogged after just a few weeks. If your filters are in bad shape, replace them as soon as possible. You may also want to consider purchasing an indoor air purifier, which will take some load off your HVAC system’s filters. It’s important that all of your equipment is clean and running smoothly so that they won’t cause unnecessary wear on any moving parts or make your air conditioner run inefficiently, having to work through dust and grime deposits.
Check For Leaky Air Ducts
Most homeowners are surprised to learn that air ducts are one of the biggest energy wasters in the home. Leaky air ducts, or duct joints that are loosely patched allow air to leak out, which means heating bills go up and homeowners waste money on energy costs that could be avoided with some simple air duct maintenance. Having properly patched and insulated air ducts can improve your HVAC system by nearly 20%! If you’re not sure how you can tell if your air ducts are leaking, we have compiled a list of some basic indicators that you can watch for, to determine if your air ducts need some attention.
- Rooms that are difficult to heat and cool
- Higher than normal utility bills
- Rooms that are stuffy and never seem to feel comfortable
- Tangled or kinked flexible ducts
- Ducts that are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage
If you find that any of the above trouble signs apply to your home, the likelihood is that your air ducts need to be sealed properly. If you are able to easily and SAFELY access any trouble areas in your ductwork and want to seal leaks yourself, it’s important to use the correct materials. We DO NOT recommend using duct tape for this job, as duct tape does not hold up well with hot and cold temperature fluctuations. We recommend mastic sealant or metal tape. First, check the ducts you can access directly. For example, attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements or garages, which are oftentimes the most vulnerable. Once this is done, you should check that the connections to all the vents and registers are well sealed.
If, after you have sealed up all of your home’s accessible air ducts and you still are having any of the issues listed above, it’s time to call in the pros. Schedule a visit from a trusted, professional HVAC company who can come out and get your ducts and HVAC system prepared for the cold months ahead.
Seal Up The Leaks
Heat can readily escape through cracks around windows and doors when it’s cold outside. When that happens, you might as well be throwing money away! Every air leak means that your furnace or heat pump has to work harder and longer, driving up your utility costs. Small leaks may not seem like a big deal, but if they’re occurring around doors and windows, they can account for 20 to 30 percent of your heating bill in winter. Check along walls, floors, attics, basements, and crawl spaces for areas where warm air is escaping. Air leaks can be resolved with a variety of products commonly sold at your local hardware store. Products such as weatherstripping, caulk, expanding foam sealant, and door sweeps, are relatively easy do-it-yourself projects that won’t break the bank. When you seal your home’s air leaks, you are potentially reducing your heating costs by as much as 30%!
Check Your Alarms And Detectors
As part of your HVAC Fall Preparation, we recommend checking your home’s smoke alarms and detectors. This is a good time to change the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Sadly, hundreds of people lose their lives every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning and an estimated 50,000 people are sent to the emergency room because of this dangerous gas that can be lurking undetected in the home. Fall and winter months give rise to the number of carbon monoxide poisoning cases because furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces, and generators are common sources of this deadly gas. Gas ranges, charcoal grills, and cars also produce carbon monoxide gas. Power outages, sometimes caused by bad ice and snowstorms, are especially dangerous because many people use portable generators inside to stay warm. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, and almost impossible to detect, making it extremely dangerous. If you have a carbon monoxide detector that plugs into the wall, be aware that it must have fresh backup batteries to operate without electricity, in case of a power outtage. Always keep your home’s alarm and detector batteries up to date.
Schedule Professional Maintenance
In addition to the steps mentioned above, it is recommended that you schedule maintenance for your HVAC system at least twice a year. Having regular, professional system checks and tune-ups will keep your heating and cooling systems operating at peak efficiency, help reduce energy costs, help to avoid expensive repairs, and extend the lives of your furnace and air conditioner.
When it comes to service and maintenance of your home’s HVAC system, no one does it better than Lancaster Brothers. Our expert technicians can repair any brand of furnace or air conditioner. You can count on us to have your unit up and running quickly and affordably. We offer maintenance plans that provide discounts and convenience, so you can rest assured that your HVAC system is performing at its best. For additional information or to schedule maintenance, call us at (913) 851-3399. You can also reach out to us via our website. We have been providing heating and cooling services to residents and business owners in the greater Kansas City area since 2000. We look forward to helping you keep your HVAC system performing at its best.
The team at Lancaster Brothers Heating and Cooling wishes you and your family a very happy Fall season, full of cozy warmth in your homes, and happy fall memories with friends and loved ones. We hope that this HVAC Fall Preparation Checklist helps you enjoy the season a little more, and with the money you save on energy bills, you indulge in all of the pumpkin spice lattes your heart desires!