Winters in Champaign can be downright brutal, and we all count on our furnaces and home HVAC systems to keep us toasty warm when Mother Nature is at her worst. Your home furnace has an anticipated operational lifespan of 15 to 20 years, and a well-maintained furnace or heat pump can often continue to work long past the manufacturer’s estimates. One important part of home furnace maintenance is getting your house and your unit prepared for the winter months. Frozen water pipes are one of the biggest risks that you’ll face in the winter, and blocked airflow or ventilation problems can lead to service issues all year. You should also make sure to schedule a service call any time you hear knocking or grinding sounds or if you smell soot or mildew when you run your system for the first time in a while. Here are a few easy steps to help you winterize your furnace or HVAC system.
1. Clean Up Your Outside Unit
Clean off your outside unit and remove all leaves, twigs, and grass clippings before winter hits. You might also want to get out your garden hose and rinse off any dirt, bugs, and bird droppings.
2. Shore Up Your Home Insulation
A local HVAC professional can inspect your attic insulation to determine if it needs to be replaced, but the rule of thumb is about every 15 years. If you feel any drafts, be sure to seal them up right away with caulk or weatherstripping. You should also keep your garage door shut in the winter and close off your exterior crawlspace and attic vents.
3. Clean Your Furnace
You can always count on your furnace collecting dust and debris no matter how frequently you change the air filter. Be sure to vacuum out all the dust and dirt particles collected inside the heater to keep your system running properly and your air quality levels high.
4. Change Your Air Filter
Your air filters should be changed at least every 90 days and more frequently if you have pets. Filters collect dirt, dust, and other debris within your system, so you’ll want to change them on a regular basis to prevent these particles from being circulated in your indoor air.
5. Clean Your Vents
Your ventilation system should only be cleaned by a professional during your annual service visit. Your licensed HVAC technician will show you how to safely vacuum your vents and registers between your service appointments. Be sure to use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the exteriors of the vent. Do not use water or cleaning chemicals because they can actually smear the dirt and other buildup and make cleanup more difficult. You can also unscrew and remove the vent covers and soak them in a sink full of hot, soapy water a couple of times a year.
6. Run Your Furnace in Early Fall
Run your furnace a few times before winter’s arrival to make sure that everything is in working order. All you have to do is set the thermostat to your family’s preferred winter temperature, and then let the unit reach that temperature for a few minutes. Once the unit reaches the proper temperature, you can turn the furnace back off.
You should run your house’s furnace at least three times in early fall to be sure that it cycles on and off properly. If the unit runs for a long time without reaching the desired temperature, contact a licensed HVAC technician right away.
7. Reprogram Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure to change your global settings to your family’s winter routine. An easy way to remember when it’s time to reprogram your thermostat is to change it when we spring forward and fall back. If you’re noticing that some areas of your home aren’t coming up to the temperature on your thermostat, it could indicate more significant problems.
At Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we have been providing heating and air conditioning repair, replacement, and maintenance, along with HVAC sheet metal fabrication services, in Champaign, IL, and the surrounding areas since 1952. Our licensed and bonded technicians are all committed to providing exemplary service. Contact Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today to winterize your HVAC system or to receive a quote for professional furnace installation. We’re looking forward to serving your home comfort needs.