Your Complete Pre-Winter HVAC Checklist

Before winter sets in and your days get colder, make sure your HVAC unit functions properly. After all, you wouldn’t want to be trapped with a failed furnace when winters get chillier and temperature plummets.

A detailed HVAC checklist will keep you safe and warm. It involves a few things that you can check yourself and others for which you’ll need a skilled professional. If you aren’t sure what to add to this list, here are the top things to do:

Check and Clean the Filters

Your HVAC needs thorough dusting before you resume its use in winters. It involves cleaning the filters before reactivating the unit. During the fall, the filters and ducts collect a lot of dust and grime when they are not in use.

You may clean the filters with a damp cloth and replace them every 3-6 months to prevent contaminated air from entering your home. When cleaning the filters, look deeply for any leakages too. If you find any, call your HVAC contractor immediately to fix the issue.

Start the Thermostat and Check the Heater

Even before you start carving the pumpkins for upcoming holidays, remember to switch your thermostat from cooling to heating. It will set the temperature a bit higher than the current room temperature. When you turn the thermostat on, listen closely for the sound of heat kicking in.

If it doesn’t make any noise and connections look secure, check the power source to see if the unit is turned on. And call a professional if it still doesn’t work because there may be an issue with the blower, heat pump, or furnace fan that’s better handled by a certified technician.

Check the Furnace

Add furnace checkups and tune-up to your HVAC checklist to keep your unit working efficiently. Clear the clutter around the furnace and make sure it has a few feet of open space on all sides.

When checking the furnace, use a flashlight to see if any critters or rodents have made their home inside it. If so, clean up the area or call a professional to do the chore.

Check the Humidifier

When you run the furnace, it may dry out the air. Hence, keeping the furnace humid is essential in the winters. That’s what a humidifier does. If you have a humidifier in your unit, clean its water panel and check that it has no mold growth or debris inside it.

Also, replace the carbon monoxide detector batteries to protect your unit from any unexpected furnace mishaps. Change the batteries every year and test the unit for its proper functioning after the battery change.

Winterize the AC Unit

In your HVAC checklist, make it a point to winterize your AC unit against winter elements. It will save you hundreds of dollars spent on AC repairs when summer gets back.

If your HVAC doesn’t have a heat pump, cover the condenser, so falling icicles won’t damage it. Cover the fan with a board instead of wrapping it in a plastic tarp that keeps the moisture inside.

Don’t Forget Draught Proofing

Though it may seem inconsequential, draught-proofing your home is essential for the proper functioning of your HVAC system. Any cracks or spaces in the walls, windows, and doorways can let the air escape and impede heat circulation inside the home. As a result, your unit might end up overworking itself.

Check and Clean the Heat Exchanger

Your HVAC checklist isn’t complete unless you add regular brushing and vacuuming the heat exchanger. However, this task should be entrusted to a skilled professional who can look for any cracks or leakages.

Check and Clean the Ducts

If the heating ducts gather dust or get damaged, your system will be overworked, increasing the utility bills and harming the air quality. Hence, inspect the ducts before winter starts and look for dents, mold, mildew, punctures, or broken wires. Though you can examine it yourself, call a professional for repairing or replacing the ducts properly.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

You can customize the temperature settings in your house with a programmable thermostat. It will allow setting the temperature back by 7-10 degrees F when you are asleep or not at home.

Experts also suggest keeping your house warm at 68 degrees during the day or whenever you’re at home. So, if you don’t have a programmable or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat yet, it’s time to call your HVAC contractor to install one.

Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Mostly, the ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change your blades’ direction to rotate clockwise. This way, the fans will push warm air down in the room and circulate the heat from the furnace throughout your house.

Check the Chimneys

The chimney’s flue is another item to inspect in your HVAC checklist. Make sure that it is properly closed to prevent drafty air. Sometimes, the chimney may harbor carbon buildup that needs to be cleaned well. Call a certified professional for chimney tune-ups and cleaning before you build the blaze in your fireplace.

Check the Igniter Switch

If the igniter in your HVAC system isn’t working, push the reset button. However, if it still doesn’t switch on, check the breaker or call a technician to examine the igniter switch and circuit breaker in your house.

Schedule a Professional Tune-Up

You can’t overlook the importance of a professional tune-up and inspection in your HVAC checklist. You may fix and check the smaller issues, but system faults, boiler issues, replacements, and draught-proofing are some specialized tasks best managed by certified professionals. Schedule a pre-winter inspection with your HVAC contractor to ensure that your unit is ready for the season.

Winters bring a lot of change to your outside temperature, your home, and your lifestyle. Cleaning your spaces to improve air quality is essential alongside this HVAC checklist to stay warm and protected inside your home.

With a professional examination, you can find and fix minor issues before they compound into a serious problem down the road.

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