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Four Ways To Make Sure Your HVAC System is Ready for Winter

When people think of getting their home ready for winter, they usually think about extra blankets or maybe some holiday decorations. But, part of that preparation should involve your HVAC system.

Once winter hits here in Rochester, NY, you can expect highs just above freezing and lows in the teens or single digits. So, you want to make sure your furnace is up to the task of keeping you warm in the frigid weather. In this post, we’ll look at four easy ways to make sure your home stays warm and comfortable all winter.

Four Ways to Prepare Your HVAC System For Winter in Rochester, NY

  1. Change the Air Filter
  2. Get a Tune-Up
  3. Clear Some Space
  4. Check the Thermostat
Maintenance For Your Furnace

Change the Air Filter

The first and easiest step toward getting your furnace ready for winter is changing the air filter. It’s simple and inexpensive. And, it will make your system run much more efficiently.

The filter is that small, portable screen usually on the side of your furnace. When air passes through, it traps small particles and contaminants. That prevents them from circulating throughout your home. The general recommendation is to change it every three months. That adds up to about once a season. And, it’s especially important right before the winter.

You’ll be using your furnace a lot. So, you want to make sure you have good airflow and less dust and debris in the air. Otherwise, eventually, the screen becomes clogged. Then, air can’t pass through properly. When that happens, your home isn’t as warm. Even worse, heat can back up into the furnace. And, yes, it can get too hot inside your furnace. Fortunately, it’s easy to take care of this yourself. Most filters are very inexpensive. And, swapping one out only takes a few minutes.

Get a Tune-Up

Getting your furnace tuned up before the winter can add years of life to your HVAC system. And, in the short term, it means lower energy bills and fewer headaches during the cold weather.

With a furnace tune-up, an HVAC tech looks over your entire system. They’ll clean it out, check all the connections, and lubricate all the moving components. Finally, they’ll replace any broken or worn-out parts. This all adds up to a heating system that’s in great shape for the winter ahead. There’s a much smaller chance that it will break down during the cold weather — when it’s working its hardest. And, during peak season, it could take a while to get it fixed.

Once it gets cold, HVAC companies end up with backlogs of work. You could get stuck between paying extra for priority service or going an additional few days without heat. Meanwhile, when your HVAC system is tuned up, it uses less energy to run. That’s less you’ll pay on your utility bills every month. And it will work better overall. So, you’ll stay warm all winter.
Get Your Furnace Ready For Winter

Clear Some Space

Your HVAC system needs some room to work properly — both near the furnace and throughout the house. Before you fire up your furnace for the season, make sure there’s nothing near the vents. And, clear out any clutter that’s built up around the furnace.

Both are important for your safety and your comfort. Let’s start with the vents. You shouldn’t have any objects or furniture within 18 inches of any vents. This is important so the air can flow through the system and circulate properly. Even one blocked vent can disrupt the airflow throughout the house. Even worse, the heat can back up into the system again. You may notice the HVAC system short cycling: Turning on and off more frequently than it should.

That’s a sign something’s wrong. And, sometimes, fixing it is as simple as moving stuff away from the vents. Finally, make sure nothing’s too close to the furnace. The unit needs some space for air to circulate. And, you don’t want any small objects or extra dirt and dust making its way into the system. Again, it affects circulation. But, it’s also a fire hazard. So, make sure there are another 18 inches of space around it, just like with the vents.

Check the Thermostat

Checking the thermostat is usually covered with a tune-up. But, it’s worth doing yourself too, especially if you haven’t gotten around to having a tech out yet. Basically, you’re making sure the thermostat is reading the temperature correctly.

If it’s not, your furnace won’t get the right instructions for when to turn on and off. First, you want to make sure it’s sending a signal. Then, check that it’s calibrated. For the first part, you’ll need someone near the thermostat and another near the furnace. Turn the thermostat to heat and raise the setting higher than the current temperature. The person near the furnace should hear it click on. Next is making sure the reading is accurate.

Today’s smart thermostat makes it easy: There’s usually a button to push for automatic calibration. For older digital models, place a thermometer next to the thermostat. Then, read both temperatures after 15 minutes. They should be within a few degrees of each other.

Thermostats From Airquip

Preventative Maintenance and Service Contracts For Your Furnace

By now, you hopefully understand why you should make sure your furnace is ready for winter. And, you’ll have an idea of what goes into doing that.

These tips mostly fall under the term “preventative maintenance.” And, you can save even more money and get it all done quickly with a service contract. With a service contract, you pay a little bit each month for year-round coverage.

The details vary, but they usually always include your tune-up. And, since you’re locked in, the company will reach out to remind you it’s time for one. That’s one less thing to worry about. Then, you can opt for other benefits like priority service without an extra fee. Or, you can get some small repairs or replacements at no additional charge. We suggest starting by following these four tips. Then, give us a call at (585) 641-3080 to find out if a service contract is right for you.

Service Plans From Airquip
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