Is your heater overworked and overlooked? Many don’t realize their heater is working too hard until they start feeling uncomfortable, get a coronary-worthy utility bill, or worse – start experiencing strange sounds and smells. Luckily, you can prevent these issues with a bit of HVAC TLC.
Heater Struggling to Keep Up with Temperature Extremes?
Learning how to service a heating unit for winter weather can help your system roll with the punches…
Help your system breathe easier.
A common culprit of heating repair, homeowners often overlook picking up air filters for home air conditioner and heating units during the winter. Despite less outdoor activity and leaving windows and doors closed this time of year, the dry winter air is a prime season for dust, dirt, and allergens to become airborne. As these gather in your air filter, it becomes increasingly difficult for your system to move air through system components and your home. This taxes the system, reducing performance and efficiency. To avoid this, your filter should be changed once every 3-months, at a minimum.
Clear the air.
Clear the airspace surrounding your air vents, ensuring they are free and clear of obstructions by furniture and drapery. Ditto for your outdoor unit, which should be kept clear of grass, leaves, and other debris. Keeping these areas clear ensures proper airflow which is detrimental to the performance and longevity of your heater.
Give your system a break.
With the addition of a smart programmable thermostat, you can give your system (and wallet) a break. Setting the thermostat temperature to a colder temperature (mid-60s) while you’re away or asleep reduces wear-and-tear and energy costs. And with today’s smart ‘learning’ thermostats, you don’t even have to worry about programming!
Avoid the ER.
As in HVAC emergency repair. Scheduling routine annual maintenance in the late summer or early fall, before the height of the heating season, can help you identify hidden issues before they leave you in the cold with a broken down system. This professional maintenance will also help you manage non-DIY-friendly care, such as…
Calibrating the thermostat and verifying proper thermostat function.
Verifying proper refrigerant levels and inspecting for leaks that can make it difficult for your system to keep up with heating needs.
Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils to remove dirt that can reduce heat transfer and efficiency (on heat pumps).
Identifying and addressing fan and blower issues that can leave you in the cold.
Checking the ductwork for leaks and design flaws that can drastically reduce system performance.
Identifying venting issues and damaged components that can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide safety issues (on furnaces and gas-powered boilers).
If your heater still isn’t keeping up despite all efforts, it may be time to send it on a permanent vacation. Learn more about the remarkable energy efficiency ratings of newer heat pump and furnace models and how they can help you get a handle on your monthly utility expenditures while staying more comfortable.