This is the time of year when everyone is pretty focused on the holidays – but Pennsylvania winters can get pretty cold and it’s a good idea to remember this is also a good time to prepare your HVAC system for the onslaught of cold temperatures in the months ahead.
Change your air filters
Air filters need to be changed at least every three months – and more often if there are pets in the home, or persons with allergies. Even if your filters don’t look that dirty – they are. By the time they look dirty, they’re starting to block air flow to your HVAC system, and potentially causing damage to your system (not to mention your sinuses).
Test your thermostat
A test run is always a good idea. Make a point to turn your thermostat to a particular temperature and see whether it takes too long – or even reaches that temperature. It’s better to find out now than in the middle of a cold snap that your thermostat is not functioning properly. You might also want to consider installing a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one, to save on energy costs.
Check your air vents
Give your air vents a quick once-over to make sure nothing is blocking your fresh air and return air vents. Furniture, clothes, toys, and pet beds (or pets!) can obstruct vents, causing your HVAC equipment to work much harder than necessary.
Seal air leaks
Take a look around and check to see if there are any air leaks around windows and doors. Sealing these with caulking or weather stripping will keep drafts from allowing expensively-heated air from escaping your home’s interior.
Have your ductwork inspected/cleaned
Same goes with any leaks in your ductwork. Having your ducts inspected and/or cleaned will expose any areas where leaks are letting debris in and warm air out. Technicians can locate any punctures, dents, or disconnected parts that might be decreasing your energy efficiency. And having them cleaned periodically will make sure any dirt accumulation or mold growth is removed.
Listen for any unusual noises
Some popping is normal in the ductwork the first few times you use your heat, but if you’re HVAC is producing unusual or prolonged noises, this could indicate a system malfunction or serious problem. It’s best to call in a qualified heating and cooling technician to take a look.
Schedule a check-up
A routine check-up will allow a trained technician to thoroughly inspect your heating system and clean, adjust, or replace any necessary parts. An HVAC professional will be able to make sure everything is in safe, operating order – and spot any minor problems before they become big repairs.
Proper maintenance and inspection – by you and a trusted HVAC professional – is the best way to keep your heating and cooling system operating at its most energy efficient best.