Though the temperatures outside might not feel like it quite yet, summer is gradually winding down, which means it will soon be time to pack away your swimsuits and flip-flops and bring your sweaters and jackets out of storage. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying everything fall has to offer, like beautiful foliage, crisp weather and football watch parties. You will also want to switch your HVAC over from cooling to heating.
Now is the perfect time of year to get ahead of the game and focus on getting your HVAC system ready to welcome the colder temperatures. Here are our top eight tips to help you prepare for the new season ahead.
Autumn’s temperatures can fluctuate unpredictably. You might wake up to a chilly morning and discover heat and humidity have set in by lunchtime. Since weather patterns are so variable in the fall, they force you and your HVAC to adapt to a wide range of temperatures. If your home has an older, traditional-style thermostat, fall is an excellent time to consider upgrading to a new, modern model.
You can program your brand-new thermostat to have full control over the heating and cooling of your home, and many brands feature compatible smartphone apps you can use to change your home’s temperature from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. If you leave for work and realize it’s a much warmer day than the weather forecast prepared you for, no problem – adjust your settings with the touch of a fingertip! These thermostats are an excellent way to keep your home comfortable, save wear and tear on your HVAC system and lower your energy costs, all at the same time.
HVAC air filters keep your system functioning optimally and protect your home and family from allergens and air pollution. Unless you’ve already replaced your HVAC filter recently, the start of fall is an ideal time to do so. Changing the filter will make your HVAC system work more efficiently, which is something you’ll be glad about during the cooler months of the year.
Once fall arrives, inspect the outdoor part of your HVAC system for damage and debris. If any shrubs or trees have grown too close to the unit, cut them back before winter weather arrives. Then, clean around the unit by sweeping away dirt, rocks, twigs and dead leaves. If you suspect any debris has gotten inside your unit, contact the professionals at Maichle’s for a more in-depth checkup and maintenance.
Air ducts and vents are responsible for circulating air throughout your house. To make sure they can do their job correctly, regularly clean these components. Blocked air ducts force HVAC systems to work harder, decreasing both lifespan and efficiency.
To get your ducts and vents ready for fall, go through your home and check to make sure all your registers are open, and that no furniture or other belongings are blocking them. Then, use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean any visible dust from your air ducts and vents. If the vacuum leaves behind any stray bits of dust, wipe them away with a damp cloth.
Did you know leaks are a common cause of HVAC inefficiencies? The air leaks in an average house are equivalent to leaving a medium-sized window wide open 24 hours a day. During extreme temperatures, those home air leaks could cost you a bundle in energy loss.
Door and window frames are often the source of these leaks. For a quick check, hold a piece of paper up to a spot where you suspect a leak. The paper will move if you’ve got air coming through. Replacing your weather stripping is a relatively inexpensive way to correct this issue. If some rooms consistently feel warmer or colder than others, you might have a leak in your ventilation ducts. Call a member of our HVAC team to help find the leak and make your home more energy-efficient for the cooler weather ahead.
Fall is the best time to check your furnace and make sure it is working correctly before you ask it to work hard for you all winter long. Before turning the furnace on for the first time in a while, check for any dust that could have built up on the unit over the spring and summer. Next, test the furnace itself.
Just like you should give your car time to warm up when the temperatures are below freezing, your HVAC system needs time to adjust to the demands of heating your home day and night. Because you haven’t used it in several months, it may take a little bit for your unit to get back up to its typical speed and efficiency.
If the weather forecast warns of a sharp drop in temperature, go ahead and turn your heat on a low setting. If you notice any unusual odors or noises when you’re performing these trial runs on your heater, call for a professional furnace inspection to make sure your HVAC system is ready to heat your home around the clock before the colder temperatures set in.
As home heating and cooling authorities, we often recommend purchasing a new HVAC system in the fall. One reason for this is that our installation specialists are somewhat less busy in the fall than we are in the summer, so it will be easier for you to make an appointment to replace your system after summer ends.
When you are trying to determine whether to repair your unit or replace it altogether, there is an easy calculation called the “$5,000 Rule.” Multiply the age of your current HVAC equipment by the estimated cost of fixing it. If that total exceeds $5,000, it’s a good idea to replace your unit. If the figure is less than $5,000, you are probably better off getting your unit repaired instead. For more help determining whether to repair or replace an aging HVAC system, you can always call for an expert opinion.
To ensure your system remains in top working condition all year long, you should schedule HVAC tune-ups twice per year, the best times to do this are in the fall and the spring. You can call to schedule smaller jobs, like coil cleaning, or more significant issues like a full-scale repair or replacement of your heater or furnace.
No matter what you need serviced, you shouldn’t put it off until your system stops working and leaves your family shivering in the depths of an East Coast winter. Many of the repair calls we receive in winter are due to a lack of preventive maintenance earlier in the year. When you are proactive about taking care of your HVAC system, you’ll have confidence that it will continue to be in top shape when Old Man Winter comes calling – and, as a homeowner, nothing is more valuable than your peace of mind.
At Maichle’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we provide friendly, reliable and affordable service to homeowners throughout Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. We repair and install leading brands of HVAC equipment, all backed by our comprehensive, industry-leading guarantee. Whether your job is large or small, count on us to do it right the first time. Call us anytime to make an appointment for your seasonal autumn maintenance before the first frost arrives. You’ll be glad you did.