HVAC Maintenance Tips for Winter
The winter months can be a tough time for your HVAC system. The cold weather can put a strain on your furnace, and the increased use of your heating system can lead to more wear and tear. That’s why it’s important to take some time to winterize your HVAC system and keep it in good working order. The last thing you want is for your HVAC system to break down in the middle of one of the coldest days of the year! Here are some crucial HVAC maintenance tips for winter.
Your Air Filter: Always Your First Stop
One of the most important tips to keep your HVAC system properly maintained for winter also happens to be one of the easiest things as well. If you take care to change your air filter regularly, you’ll be doing more than many who forget or ignore it. This is because a dirty air filter can restrict airflow and make your furnace work harder, which can lead to higher energy bills and even a decrease in the lifespan of your furnace.
The best way to know when to change your air filter is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations, as this will provide you with an excellent guideline to follow. However, there’s nothing that says you can’t change your air filter more often. A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter every 1-3 months. If you have pets, or if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you might want to change it even more often for peace of mind.
Clean and Inspect Your Furnace Regularly
Cleaning your air filter is the first step in keeping your HVAC maintained during the winter, but it’s not the only step. In addition to changing your air filter, it’s also an excellent idea to have your furnace inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician at least once a year. This will help to ensure your furnace is working properly and efficiently, and it can also help to identify any potential problems before they cause costly repairs.
Seal Any Air Leaks Around Your Home
If your home has air gaps around its doors or windows, there’s more at stake than just simply having to deal with a draft every now and again. Air leaks can let cold air in and warm air out, which can make your furnace work harder and increase your energy bills.
To find air leaks around your home, begin by feeling for telltale breezes to get to the general vicinity of where an air leak might be. To pinpoint them more closely, use a tool called a smoke pencil to see exactly where the air is coming into or exiting your home. Once you’ve found the air leaks, you can seal them with caulk or weatherstripping as appropriate.
Keep Your Home Well Insulated
Proper insulation can help to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which can save you money on your energy bills. If you don’t have enough insulation in places like your attic, for instance, you’ll be allowing too much heat transfer. In the winter, this means warmth will be escaping through your roof.
A telltale sign of this is, if you live in a location that gets snow in the winter, to check your roof after a snowfall. If it seems to melt quickly, it’s likely your attic insulation isn’t sufficient. There are a few different types of insulation, so you’ll need to choose the type that’s best suited for your home.
Set Your Thermostat to a Reasonable Temperature
Everyone enjoys being warm and toasty in the winter months, but it’s very possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to heating your home. Setting your thermostat higher than it needs to be will result in your furnace having to work harder, which will not only increase your energy bills, but could also increase the likelihood of your HVAC system breaking down during the winter and requiring emergency maintenance.
The ideal thermostat setting for winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find that you’re still cold, consider adding layers of clothing instead of turning up the thermostat. This is especially important if you have young children or elderly adults in your home, as both the very young and the very old tend to be more susceptible to temperature extremes.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
You can adjust your thermostat by hand if you like, but it’s often much easier to use a programmable one instead. A programmable thermostat isn’t just more convenient – it can also help you save energy by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re asleep or away from home. This can save you up a hood percentage on your energy bills.
Additionally, a Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat can be controlled remotely from anywhere. If you’ll be arriving home early or you’ll be out longer than you anticipated, you can adjust your home’s temperature accordingly.
Consider a Home Energy Audit
Many HVAC service companies offer home energy audits, which can help identify areas where you can improve the energy efficiency of your home. Knowing where the problem areas are in your home can help save you money on your energy bills in the long run. While a home energy audit typically costs between $100 and $300, the cost savings over time pay for themselves very quickly.
HVAC Maintenance in the Winter – Call the Experts
The above HVAC maintenance tips for winter aren’t the only things you can do to keep your system in good shape for a long, cold winter, but they’re a good start. If you want even more great ideas for winterizing your HVAC system, or to schedule a pre-season tune-up, contact your local home energy services provider today!