As summer comes to a close, we’re finally getting a reprieve from the heat here in Utah. Now is the right time to get your home and furnace ready for cold temperatures before winter arrives in full swing. Here are eight HVAC maintenance tips for fall to help you do just that.
Check Your Thermostat Settings
A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive investment that helps you maximize home comfort and energy savings. If you don’t already have one, consider upgrading. By setting your programmable thermostat correctly, you can save up to 15% on your heating costs. Here’s how to maximize your savings:
- Take advantage of pre-programmed settings to set different temperatures for specific times of day, including Awake, Away, Home, and Sleep.
- Set the Awake and Home temperatures no higher than 70 degrees. Dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
- Set the Away and Sleep temperatures between 60 and 62 degrees. The longer these setback periods last, the more you’ll save.
- Rest assured that a comfortable temperature will resume before you wake up in the morning or arrive home from work in the evening, as long as you program the correct times based on your schedule.
- Avoid overriding the programmed settings as much as possible. If you’re cold, put on another layer of clothing before you touch the thermostat.
- If you must change the temperature, adjust it by only one or two degrees. Cranking up the temperature to 90 degrees won’t heat your home any faster and only wastes energy when the temperature exceeds your comfort level.
Replace the Air Filter
Have you had the same air filter in place all summer? This is a good time to replace it. A fresh filter ensures adequate airflow for better circulation and energy efficiency. This is one of the simplest HVAC maintenance tips you can do to improve furnace performance this winter.
Clean & Assess the Air Registers
Dust, dirt, grime, and pet hair tend to collect on air registers. Vacuum them with the brush attachment to help improve indoor air quality and flow. Also, make sure all return and supply air registers are unblocked by furniture, rugs, or curtains. Even if you have unused rooms in your home, keeping at least 80% of all supply registers open is essential to ensure proper system balance and efficient performance.
Reverse the Ceiling Fan Direction
If you think ceiling fans are only good for cooling your home in the summer, think again! By reversing the direction of the blades and running the fan on low, you can help circulate warm air down to the ground. This trick is especially useful for ceiling fans installed on vaulted ceilings and above staircases.
Seal Leaky Windows & Doors
Air leaks around windows and doors are a major cause of poor energy efficiency. They allow bitter winter winds to creep into your home, making your furnace work harder than necessary to keep the interior comfortable. This is why sealing leaks is such an important fall HVAC tip.
Caulk is useful for sealing small cracks in stationary joints, such as where the window or door frame meets the wall. Then, weatherstripping ensures an airtight seal when you close your windows and doors. Make these upgrades to your home’s external envelope to reduce uncomfortable drafts and help your furnace perform better this winter.
Check Attic Insulation Levels
Last winter, did you struggle with high heating bills and uneven temperatures on different floors of your home? If so, you could benefit from adding more attic insulation. Since heat rises, insulating the attic is particularly effective for keeping your home warm in the coming months.
Not sure if you need more attic insulation? Open the attic hatch and peek inside with a flashlight. If you see a bare floor or notice floor joists poking through the existing insulation, you could benefit from adding more. The most popular choices include fiberglass batts, blown-in cellulose, and spray foam.
Retire the Air Conditioner
Once you’re confident you won’t need to run the AC again until next spring, feel free to retire it for the season. The first step is to clear away debris from around the condensing unit so critters aren’t inclined to make it their home.
Then, place a board on top of the condensing unit and weigh it down with rocks or bricks. This protects the internal components from falling icicles, snow, and other debris. However, do not wrap your AC in a tarp. This isn’t necessary to protect it from the elements. In fact, it only serves to shelter pests and may lead to corrosive condensation.
Finally, switch the thermostat over to heating mode and let the furnace run for the first time in a few months. Be on the lookout for any off-putting smells or sounds coming from the equipment. If you notice any, you may want to have your furnace repaired.
Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up
Regardless of how your initial test goes, it’s important to maintain your furnace before the heating season gets too far underway. Make annual furnace tune-ups a priority, and you’ll reduce your heating bills, prolong your furnace’s lifespan, ensure fewer breakdowns, and increase home comfort all winter long.
Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can put the finishing touches on your fall HVAC maintenance efforts! Our services include checking all system components, cleaning the blower motor, inspecting the ductwork, testing for safe operation, and performing other in-depth maintenance services only a professional can do. For even more benefits and savings, consider signing up for a maintenance plan.
To learn more, or to schedule services, please contact Triple T today at 801-790-0460 (Utah County) or 435-216-1608 (Washington County).