With October knocking on the door, it’s time once again to get prepared for the fall and winter seasons here in Charleston.
We all know temperatures dip, but we sometimes don’t know how far or what kind of weather these seasons could bring. Last year’s snowfall caught many in the Lowcountry off-guard and stuck with heaters that weren’t working as well as they might have, leading to some chillier than normal homes here.
To help you stay ahead of the fall/winter curve (and hopefully warmer than last year), below are a list of HVAC related things you can do and check off your list this year.
1. Clear Debris From Around Outdoor Unit
With the recent hurricane and rains that brushed the Lowcountry earlier this month, be sure to look for any debris or buildup on and around your outdoor unit.
Doing this cleanup helps your system run more efficiently by clearing the airways that lead into the outdoor unit. If the airways are clean, the unit doesn’t have to “fight” to pull in air when it needs it, thus doesn’t have to work as hard during normal operation.
2. Clean Vents & Other Air Ducts
It’s natural for your vents and air ducts to collect dust and other debris over time. Cleaning these up not only helps air flow better out of them, but also helps your air quality as that debris won’t be blown around when your system is running.
3. Change Out Air Filters
It’s something that we’ve mentioned in several posts over the years, but changing out your air filters is a must — no matter which season it may be.
4. Listen For Noise or Unusual Sounds From Your HVAC System
Occasionally if there is something wrong with your heating and air system, you may be able to hear it. Turn down/off some of the devices in your home and listen carefully when your system starts up, runs and turns off. Report any unusual noises to your HVAC company when you schedule your maintenance appointment (wee #6 in this list below).
5. Test/Check Your Thermostat
We mentioned it in last year’s fall HVAC maintenance post but it’s still an important thing to do and worth repeating: test/check your thermostat’s settings and operation as you transition from cooling to heating your home.
If you have a programmable thermostat (which can save you up to 10% on your energy bill in many cases) make appropriate adjustments for fall/winter operation.
6. Schedule A Maintenance Appointment
Having this kind of maintenance not only ensures that your system will be ready for winter (or summer), but also is a good way to prevent long-term problems. When your HVAC professional looks through your system, they’ll be able to find any small system issue (or potential issue) that if left unnoticed, can lead to your system to total breakdown.
These breakdowns generally occur when your system is needed the most (during the peak of winter or summer), but with regular maintenance you can help keep that from happening.
7. Consider Signing Up For A Maintenance Plan
With the importance of regular maintenance noted above, an easy way to ensure you don’t forget is by signing up for an HVAC maintenance plan.
Maintenance plans are available from most HVAC companies in the Lowcountry and include 2-3 inspections per year, priority scheduling, reduced cost part replacements and reminders to schedule your maintenance appointments.
8. Think About An Updated/Upgraded High Efficiency HVAC Unit
If your HVAC system is starting to get up there in years, some of the maintenance items may not totally ensure you’ll get the most out of your system this fall. HVAC systems have lifespans just like any other mechanical device so there will always come a time when you’ll have to replace.
The great news is that with summer winding down, many area companies run fall systems replacement promos and offers so this time of year is a great way of updating your home’s comfort systems.