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Get Your Home Ready for Winter With This HVAC Guide


Every year, you see signs that winter is coming. You may prepare yourself for the approaching season in many ways. You might change over your wardrobe to include warm and cozy clothes. You may put an ice scraper in your car and make sure your shovels are handy. You may begin to winterize your house by turning off the water to the outside hose bibs and putting away your hoses. Do you think about your HVAC unit before you have to turn on the heat? Unfortunately, many homeowners do not and find themselves stuck without heat just when they need it. There are some HVAC services to hire that you may want to consider before you head into the cold winter months. Before you make decisions about the ways you want to prepare your home for winter, learn more about the HVAC services to hire.

Change Filters

One of the easiest ways to prepare your HVAC system for winter is to change the filters. Despite this being easy, it is often overlooked and forgotten. If you hire an HVAC contractor, one of the first questions you are asked is when was the last time you changed your filter. When the filters are not changed, you put a lot of stress and wear on your HVAC system. Filters work by capturing debris, dirt, and lint. They prevent these particles from entering your HVAC system. However, after capturing these particles for a certain amount of time, they are no longer effective. When the filter does not work, your HVAC system gets clogged. This means your furnace has to work much harder to get the air through the filter. If you leave dirty filters in place long enough, they will contribute to the breakdown of your furnace. Your filters should be changed at least once every six months. You should change them more frequently, like every three months, if you have pets. While changing the filter is a simple process, if you do not feel comfortable doing it, this is one of the HVAC services to hire.

Get Heating Maintenance Services

There are a number of items that fall under HVAC services to hire that you may want to consider before going into the cooler months. In addition to annual furnace and heat pump maintenance, you should consider some other regular maintenance services. These include having carbon monoxide detectors tested. Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer for a reason, and you should ensure that you have detection methods in place. They should be tested once a year, around the fall, before you are ready to turn on your furnace. In addition, you want to ensure they are at least five feet above the floor.

The blower motor is another part of the HVAC unit that should be checked regularly. It most likely needs annual cleaning and lubrication. Not all blowers require the same care, so it is essential that you determine what maintenance your furnace needs. If you are not sure, you should contact a professional for assistance. The heat exchanger is another part of the furnace that should receive maintenance. If you have a regular tune-up each year, the exchanger is cleaned. Again, this is a task you should hire a professional to handle because the furnace must be disabled, then dusted and vacuumed. During this process, the technician assesses the furnaces to look for cracks or areas where carbon monoxide could be leaking.

If you have a furnace that burns oil, you need some special maintenance services. The oil filter and burner nozzle should be replaced. It would be best if you also filled up your tank. Furnaces that burn oil need more regular cleaning services than other furnaces. Oil is not as efficient and leaves more residue behind. These services are necessary to ensure your furnace warms your house effectively every time you need it.

Install a Brand-New Furnace

When you are facing a new winter season, you begin to think about how well your equipment is going to make it through the season. If you are thinking about HVAC services to hire and all the repairs you have done in the past, it may be time to think about a replacement. If you are nervous every time you have heating contractors come to service your furnace, that could be a sign it is time. Of course, you want to plan for a replacement and have it scheduled in advance of needing to use it. Sometimes, it just does not work out that way. You find yourself on the coldest day of the year without heat. Scrambling to find someone to fix your broken heater in the middle of winter is not a place you want to be. It is best if you begin thinking about a new HVAC installation during the spring or fall when you do not need heat or air conditioning.

Not only will this help prevent you from getting stuck without heat but also contractors are busiest during the winter and summer. These are also the most expensive months to replace your HVAC system. When the weather is mild, business calms significantly. You will be able to find someone to service your system and be more willing to offer discounts. In addition, you can often have services rendered quickly. During busy times, a job that should only take a few days may extend into a few weeks.

Repair Your HVAC System

Perhaps replacing your HVAC system is just not in the budget. You need to make your current system last as long as it can. This is when HVAC services to hire come in handy. There is usually something a technician can do to help prolong the life of your system. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are times when a part breaks that cannot be repaired, but most of the time, there are heating and cooling repair options. The same is true for heat pump repair. If you take care of the units throughout the year, you may be able to prevent repairs and replacements. You may be able to prolong their life and effectiveness.

All HVAC units wear out eventually. They will become less effective. Annual maintenance can help prevent wear and tear. During an annual inspection, the unit is assessed for safety. The parts are lubricated, the entire unit is cleaned, and dust is removed. A technician also changes the air filters. When your furnace works efficiently, it will not work as hard to heat your house. This also means you have lower energy bills. Some other steps you can take in your home to help your furnace work most effectively are to seal up cracks and leaks and prevent drafts. You can easily place caulk and weatherstripping around windows and doors. If you replace all old doors that are made from wood with better-insulated steel or fiberglass doors, you will prevent air from coming inside. You can also add a storm door to help reduce the loss of heat.

Get an Inspection

When you are looking for HVAC services to hire, there are a handful of inspections you should consider to meet your heating and cooling services needs. The first is an overall inspection done by a qualified and reputable HVAC service technician. This should be done every six months, one in the spring and one in the fall. This inspection gives you an opportunity to talk to your technician about any concerns or questions you might have. Another type of inspection to consider is a chimney inspection. While a chimney is associated with a fireplace and wood stove more than your HVAC system, if you have one, you use it in the cold months. Therefore, when your HVAC system is serviced, you should also have your chimney serviced. When your chimney is cleaned properly, it can eliminate the possibility of chimney fires.

In addition, when the chimney is blocked with items like soot, creosote, and other materials, it increases the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is in alignment with having your carbon monoxide detector checked annually. When having these items inspected, do not forget to inspect your furnace. When your furnace is inspected, you also want to have your air ducts cleaned and filters replaced. This is a good time to determine if your furnace is going to make it through another season or if you need to replace it.

Clean Your Vents

When you are considering HVAC maintenance, one of the major HVAC services to hire is vent cleaning. A large amount of debris, pollen, and dust collects and accumulates in your vents. These particles collect in your vents during the fall and spring when your HVAC system is used less or not at all. Therefore, when preparing for winter, you want to ensure that your vents have a good cleaning. This is also the time when you change your filters. When your air filters are new and clean, they allow the heated air to circulate properly. While you most likely do not need to change your filter for three to six months, you should check them every month to see if they need a replacement.

When the technician comes to clean your vents, they also check for any strange odors, odd sounds, and leaky ducts. These are all signs of a larger problem. When caught early enough, you may be able to repair it and save money. In addition, when you have your vents and ducts cleaned, it can eliminate irritants in your home. When the ducts are clean, they prevent the recirculation of contaminants into the air. Items like mold, pollen, fur, and dander can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

Test Your Thermostat

Many homeowners do not think to test their thermostat until the temperatures begin to decrease and they need to use your heat. In plenty of time for the cold weather to hit, you should turn on your furnace and test out your thermostat. Flipping your thermostat to heat is an easy way to check your heating services. You want to set the temperature to a few degrees warmer than the current temperature in the room. At this point, you should hear the heat come on. If you do not hear the normal heat coming on sounds, you may want to find HVAC services to hire.

It does not mean that there is a problem with the HVAC unit. The problem could be with the thermostat itself. You can check to see if the thermostat is working before contacting an air and heating company. You want to ensure the power to the furnace is off and then remove the cover of the thermostat to expose the wires. You should see different color wires screwed into different terminals. It is best to take a picture with your smartphone so you can remember which wires go to which terminals. Once you have done this, you can unscrew the wires and remove them from their terminals. You should be careful not to let the exposed wires fall back into the wall. You also want to ensure that the wires do not touch each other.

You can turn the power back on to the furnace. If the blower comes on and the burner ignites, you know the thermostat was not connected properly to the wires. It could also be defective. You can easily replace the thermostat from here. If the burner does not ignite, it could mean there is a break in one of the wires. You can also use a tool called a multimeter to check the continuity.

As you have read, there are a number of HVAC services to hire to help you prepare your home and HVAC system for the coming winter months. In addition, there are many steps you can take to help improve the life of your furnace and prevent expensive repairs.

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