There are a lot of feelings that come with the start of winter. Some people welcome the change in temperatures while others mourn the loss of heat. No matter what camp you happen to be in though, it’s easy to forget about the more practical side of a new season. From thermostats to temp control to filters and vents check-up, you’ll definitely want to address some basic needs of a furnace before the days start getting shorter and shorter.
The best time to prepare your furnace for winter is always going to be long before you ever have to worry about a chill in the air. In the Phoenix area especially, your system has already been working overtime during the worst of the heat. Here are a few tips from Precision Air & Plumbing to get your furnace ready as we transition out of summer.
Preparing your furnace means reviewing your energy use and testing your system out. If you’d like to cut back on utility bills, you might need to think outside the box this year. Smart home technology has only gotten better over the past few years, which is why more homeowners are turning to thermostats that are meticulous about temp control.
You’ll find products that adjust your energy use based on how you use the rooms in your home, which can end up saving you serious money. In a real-world setting, it might lower the temperature when you have a party (to account for the excess body heat) or when you’re no longer using the room.
At the very least, you’ll need to test your current system before the season starts. Make sure that your HVAC system is in heating mode, activate the furnace, and make sure that it comes on soon after. If it doesn’t, check the wire connections before you assume it’s a problem with your appliances.
One of the more routine tasks of your HVAC system is changing out the air filter. This filter is what traps a wide variety of dust and particles, making it possible for you to breathe in cleaner air. But if that filter is clogged, you’ll end up compromising both your health and your energy use.
Some homeowners (especially ones with plenty of pets) will change out their filters every month. Others will wait every few months (or until the filter is beyond blackened). Filters are usually located behind a vent grill, which can be either in the wall or ceiling or inside the HVAC system.
You can also consider replacing disposable filters with a washable electrostatic filter, so you don’t have to keep buying new ones several times or more a year. Now is also a good time to look at your humidifier’s controls and filter (if your HVAC system has one).
If you’re doing a filters and vents check up on your own, make sure that your HVAC system is on full blast so that you can gauge where the leaks are. Some gaps will be more obvious than others and may just need a reseal or adjustment. If you’re really motivated, try renting a fog machine and place it by your furnace so you have a visible understanding of how the airflow is working.
As time goes by and seasons pass from one to the next, your machinery is undergoing transformations. Some are harmless, while others are deadly. A crack in the heat exchanger translates to potential carbon monoxide poisoning — this is how important it is to keep up with changes to your HVAC system.
It’s so important to inspect and clean everything from the blower motor to the chimneys. Experts recommend having professionals brought in for the major tasks, but it’s still important for residents to be involved in the process. The more they understand what’s normal and what isn’t, the more they’ll take steps to mitigate potential issues.
Take the time to learn more about how the motors work and which ones need lubrication. It’s difficult to find exact instructions on any given furnace because each home is a little different. A filters and vents checkup can also tell you more about whether there’s debris that obstructs the airflow.
It’s not unusual for birds to make their nests in your chimney or for other detritus to build up in there. Proper temp control starts with making sure that your ducts are properly sealed, that the soot has been removed from the flue, and the igniter switch has been properly tested.
The best way to prepare your furnace is to call someone who will think of all the things that you might have forgotten about. While homeowners can (and should) become more familiar with their furnace, an expert will be able to identify without question whether there’s a problem with your heat exchanger, when your carbon monoxide detectors have failed, and if you need a burner-nozzle cleaning.
Because most HVAC systems are some combination of old and new, the preparation approach will vary depending on the model, brand, and type. If you have an oil unit, you have to pay especially close attention to the heat exchanger because it will leave far more residue than the gas versions. If you have a humidifier, you might need a little advice to set the humidistat correctly.
Every homeowner and resident has their own idea of how they want their home heated and how much money they want to spend on their utility bills. Precision Air & Plumbing knows that it’s not always easy to get your HVAC system up to par, which is why we’re here to assist you. We help customers set their thermostats, adjust temp control, and get more from each unit of energy they use.
When you call us, we focus on how we can save you money with each service call. A one-time investment in the right heat pump can conserve energy in one room and move it into another. Stocking up on gas now means you won’t have to pay sky-high prices in the dead of winter. Our advice can be the key between wasting your hard-earned cash on energy bills and saving it instead.
With a strong understanding of the different types of systems in the Phoenix area, there’s really no problem too sophisticated to throw at us. It’s not always possible to predict the temperature swings in Arizona, but it is possible to prepare for the worst plunges of the season.
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