Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell
With that in mind, we know that winter is, once again, upon us. As with other seasons, winter has its charms and its challenges. For many of us, the biggest challenge is the cold.
Overcome the cold when it’s needed the most and keep your home warm and comfortable this winter. Have us service your HVAC unit to help keep it running in tip-top shape throughout the season.
So what does “Getting Your Heating System Ready for winter” mean? Well, it means preparing beforehand, so you’re ready when the cold blows your way. When you prepare your heating unit for winter, it’s not only ready to tackle the cold months but it will also run at its highest efficiency. And when a heating unit is running at its peak efficiency, it’s helping to extend its life, it’s keeping you warmer, it’s saving you money, and it’s helping the environment by reducing wasted energy.
Complete the following heating preparation tasks, and you’ll be ahead of Old Man Winter.
Be Clean and Be Green with Your Heating System
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your furnace or heat pump system, makes for a system that’s more efficient and greener to operate. Some cleaning is DIY, and some needs to be left to the professionals.
Start with your air supply vents, which is where warm air enters your rooms, make sure they are all open. Floor vents especially can become very dirty over time. Carefully clean and/or vacuum the registers (vents) to rid them of dust and debris.
Next, move to your return grills, which is where air is sucked into the furnace or heat pump air handler, and change the filters. For most homeowners, they should change these filters every 1 to 3 months depending on your filter type. This can also be cleaned. Many systems have larger filter cabinets installed at the furnace or heat pump air handler. These filter types will typically last 6-12 months. Some have UV bulbs and a catalyst insert with the regular filter that should also be replaced, usually every year, or every two years, depending on the manufacturer recommendations.
All air filters can be easily forgotten. If it looks dark and dirty, or it’s been longer than a year, replace it. Writing the date on the filter cardboard edge is helpful to see how long it’s been.
Washable type filters should be cleaned every 1 to 3 months also.
The purpose of these filters is to filter out dust, allergens, bacteria, and everything else before the air reaches the furnace or heat pump air handler. Filters do two important things, keep your furnace or heat pump air handler clean and unrestricted, and will make the air you breathe in your home healthier.
Next, clean the area around your furnace, heat pump, air handler, or other heating unit system. Keep the inside units free of clutter, dust, and debris. A heat pump outdoor unit area should be clean and any plants or trees need to be cut back to allow enough space to walk around the unit. The outdoor unit airflow is just as important as the indoor unit airflow for a heat pump. An outdoor unit condenser coil can get very dirty over time and significantly reduce your system capacity and efficiency. Older systems left neglected for years are usually the ones needing repairs to keep them going.
What is a coil you ask? Heat pumps and air conditioners use lengths of copper or aluminum tubing arranged in a spiral or sequence of loops used to exchange heat from the air. Similar to a radiator in a car, except refrigerant is used as the heat transfer medium. Heat pumps use refrigerant for both heating and air conditioning. The outdoor unit can be inspected for cleanliness and if it’s dirty or plugged we can help.
Indoor unit evaporator coils are internal to the system and are part of the inspection during a routine maintenance. Below are some before and after examples of a dirty indoor coil.
If your main source of heat is a gas furnace then it is important to remind you to check your smoke alarms and replace the batteries. If you don’t have a smoke alarm, get one. It is also recommended to have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in your home when heating with a gas/fuel burning system.
Be Smart With Your Heating System and Call Us
Finally, the most important task to complete in order to be ready for winter is to contact Vision Air Heating and Cooling to schedule a checkup of your HVAC system. We will perform a thorough inspection and testing of your system. We recommend having your HVAC system checked for every winter season. This allows us to head off potential problems, which in the long run, will save you time and money.
Here are a few other examples of things we have found with equipment that hasn’t been maintained on a regular basis.
Completely frozen outdoor heat pump. This unit had a faulty defrost control circuit board.
Very dirty electric wall heater. The electric heating elements were covered with dust and lint throughout.
Wasp nests inside a heat pump electrical power disconnect and inside a gas furnace hanging from the burners.
Corrosion on a circuit board found inside a Gas/Electric unit and fallen insulation inside a coil cabinet that was restricting airflow to only 50% of the coil.