For many homeowners, the fall season is a welcome change after the record-breaking conditions of summer. Along with the cooler temperatures, however, autumn also brings the necessity of checking the condition of your home HVAC system. For one thing, many HVAC systems have worked extra hard over the summer and require servicing or tune-ups to continue to operate efficiently. In addition, HVAC components that may have remained dormant for much of the year require checkups before meeting the demands of fall weather and upcoming holidays. Here are some tips and practices that can keep your HVAC system in great working order for the rest of the year.
Why Is Fall HVAC Maintenance Important?
HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This system is a network of appliances and technologies that help keep your indoor environment comfortable. Regular HVAC maintenance is important to ensure peak performance within the home. It can improve the life span of your HVAC system, boost HVAC efficiency, and improve air quality within the residence.
Improve HVAC System Life Span
Maintenance helps preserve the life span of your system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average life span of units within an HVAC system is approximately 15 to 20 years. However, failure to keep up with this routine maintenance can significantly shorten this life expectancy. For some HVAC components, you may even need proof of maintenance in order to submit a warranty claim, and failure to retain a normal servicing schedule can invalidate your standard warranty. Items like your air conditioner, furnace, boiler, or heat pump typically have this warranty provision. Fall is the perfect time to schedule this checkup since it is a transitional season between the busy months of summer and winter.
Improve HVAC System Efficiency
In addition to improving your HVAC system’s life expectancy, seasonal maintenance may also help boost its efficiency. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency, households can reduce excess energy usage by up to 50% with proper servicing and maintenance. This reduction in wasted energy may also help lower your utility bills. With colder weather and holidays that may naturally increase heating usage, it is important to conserve any energy expenditure to the best of your ability. Professional HVAC maintenance checks for any potential sources of waste, ranging from broken equipment to blocked vents, so that everything can operate smoothly.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Along with financial benefits, there are potential health and safety benefits as well. Homes that do not undergo regular maintenance can become a host for airborne toxins like dirt, dust, and other particulates. These contaminants can then move throughout your HVAC system and circulate into every room. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that airborne pollutants may be two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. Consistent maintenance helps remove these contaminants before they have a chance to harm you or your family. Professional HVAC maintenance can help prevent problems with everything from allergens to carbon monoxide poisoning. Because fall weather means that people spend more time indoors, it is imperative to implement consistent maintenance practices to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for all occupants.
Fall Maintenance Tips and Checklist
Now that you understand the importance of fall maintenance, it is helpful to have a solid checklist in place. This overview can provide insight into the tasks a professional may perform to service your home. It can help you understand the workflow of this process and offer suggestions on which services to request for each area of the home.
Clean or Replace Filters
Owning a well-functioning HVAC system starts with having proper airflow. This airflow is often contingent upon the effectiveness of your HVAC filters. The purpose of an air filter is to trap contaminants from hot or cool air before they can float throughout the home. Unfortunately, dirty filters impede airflow and can compromise the efficiency of your entire HVAC system. Autumn is the perfect time to change your filters since HVAC units have been hard at work all summer. If you have questions about the type of filter to use, you can ask your HVAC technician to recommend filters with the appropriate MERV rating for your system. Some high-efficiency filters can improve conditions by removing microscopic contaminants from the air.
Check Vents and Registers
With the change of seasons, it is also important to check your vents and registers. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in these structures, thereby obstructing airflow. This can also lead to uneven temperatures in various rooms. An HVAC professional can check all supply and return vents in order to remove any potential blockage. This can also reduce the buildup of excess heat or pressure and prevent the imbalanced circulation of air.
Service the Thermostat
Thermostats are crucial for regulating home temperature. A poorly calibrated or defective thermostat can lead to imbalanced temperatures and increased energy usage. Fortunately, an HVAC technician can verify the accuracy of your thermostat settings and reconfigure the device as needed. You can also speak with a technician about installing a programmable or smart thermostat. This customizable device allows you to save electricity while you are away from home during the day and to maintain comfortable temperature levels while you are asleep at night.
Inspect the Outdoor Unit
The best maintenance plans do not limit inspections to the indoors. Instead, these inspections can also include the evaluation of components that sit outdoors. The outdoor units of HVAC systems are exposed to the elements and can accumulate fallen leaves, twigs, and dirt. This buildup obstructs airflow and can damage the system. Consider having any overgrown foliage removed so that your system runs without any breakdowns.
Clear the Condensate Drain
The condensate drain line in the HVAC system collects the condensation produced during the cooling process. This excess condensation then gets delivered outside for disposal. Over time, however, the condensate drain line can become clogged. This can lower the effectiveness of your unit and even lead to water damage when the condensation fails to flow outside as usual. An HVAC professional can inspect components like the condensate drain and provide repairs as needed.
Lubricate Moving Parts
Your home HVAC system is highly mechanical. Like any mechanical process, its performance is contingent upon a network of moving parts. These parts can include the motors, fans, bearings, or compressors. Without the appropriate lubrication, however, these parts are subject to wear and tear. Professional HVAC technicians have the right equipment and experience to service these parts so that your system performs to the best of its ability.
Check Electrical Connections
Along with mechanical parts, your HVAC system has a network of extensive electrical connections and wires. Over time, these wires can wear down or become loose. These loose connections can not only cause system breakdowns but also produce major safety hazards like electrical fires. Fortunately, an experienced home services professional can conduct inspections to keep your system in good working order.
Get Ductwork Inspected
After a long summer, it is also time for a professional to inspect your ductwork. Over time, ductwork can fill with debris and create blockages that impede airflow. Worn ductwork can also result in air leaks. These leaks mean that heated air seeps into spaces behind walls or above ceilings instead of into your rooms where it belongs. Attempting to clean or seal ductwork yourself can create even greater problems. An HVAC technician can repair ductwork to get your household ready for the winter months.
Contact Us Today
Fall is the optimal period for completing your required HVAC maintenance just in time for the holidays. Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation provides HVAC inspections and repairs to homes in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas. We offer complete ductwork inspection, insulation upgrades, and repairs. Our technicians also provide complete maintenance to all air conditioning and heating units. When a new installation is in order, we do that as well. Contact Atticman Heating and Air Conditioning, Insulation today as your one-stop shop for your HVAC needs.