While the weather outside is rather pleasant this time of year, summer will be over before we know it. As the seasons change, you’ll want to make sure your home’s environmental systems are operating correctly and that they will be functioning correctly and efficiently. Taking care of any issues now will ensure that you are ready for the coming winter and won’t be scrambling to fix them at exactly the wrong time.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your heating and air conditioning system provides you with a comfortable home for years to come:
Perform A/C Maintenance
A little preparation in the fall will help you have a smooth start next season. This can include cleaning the outside condenser coils and straightening any bent fins. Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing this maintenance:
- Before performing maintenance, you will need to turn off the power to the outside condenser, either at the inside fuse box or at the electrical box that powers your unit.
- Remove the top safety cage and, using a shop vac, vacuum out any debris that is inside the condenser unit.
- Use a hose to spray out the inside of the machine, rinsing away any leftover debris (like cottonwood that gets stuck in between the fins).
- Check your condenser fins to make sure they are not bent. Bent fins will not allow the proper air flow to your machine. If your fins are just a little bent, you can use a butter knife or standard screwdriver to carefully straighten them, but if there is major damage, you will want to go the hardware store to get a “fin comb” to do the job.
- Reinstall the safety cage, restore power to your unit, and test the unit for operation.
- We recommend covering your A/C unit for the fall and winter season, which will keep it clean and help protect it from the elements.
Test Your Heating System
Running some simple tests on your heating system will help you make sure it will be operating correctly when the cold winter months set in. One easy test is simply checking for operation. Run the system sometime in the early fall to verify that things are working. When you turn on the heat, does the system fire? Is heat being produced from the vents or radiators? If not, you’ll want to schedule service and get your system in working order, ensuring that you’ll have the heat you need when the temperature drops.
It is also imperative to have a new air filter ready for the winter. We recommend changing filters every 6 months at a minimum, and if you have pets, more frequent changes could be necessary for optimum system performance.
Check Your Humidifier/Dehumidifier
If you have a whole home humidifier or dehumidifier, you will need to make sure that these units are running properly too. Humidifiers are very important for maintaining comfortable indoor air quality in the winter. Usually, there is a bypass in the venting system that allows air to flow through your humidifier, so you will want to make sure that the air flow settings are adjusted for winter operation.
Maintaining an Efficient System
You can achieve maximum efficiency with your heating and air conditioning system by getting regular seasonal clean and checks. You can also increase your efficiency by ensuring that your heating and A/C units have proper air flow, regularly changing your filter, and making sure vents are not obstructed. It’s also a good idea to add a whole home humidifier and dehumidifier to help regulate air quality, because humidity plays a very important role in maintaining a comfortable environment in your home.
If you want to schedule a maintenance check with us to ensure that your system is ready for the winter, please contact us or call us at 630-694-1700. Do you have any other questions about preparing for the winter? Please share them in the comments below!