The fall season will be here before you know it, which means that your HVAC system will soon go from cooling your home to heating it. If you have a relatively new and well-maintained HVAC system, you probably won’t have to do much to make the switch from cooling to heating, but there are still some things you should consider doing to get ready for the autumn as well as some things you should avoid. Let’s go over a few of them now.

1. Schedule a Maintenance Checkup

It’s easy to assume that your HVAC system will work just fine when it’s time to turn on your furnace. While that may be the case if you have a fairly new and reliable system, you should still schedule an HVAC maintenance checkup with an HVAC professional at least once a year. This should be done toward the end of the summer or the beginning of the fall so your system is ready for the winter. Your maintenance checkup should include the following tasks:

  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Cleaning dirty coils
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger and safety controls
  • Calibrating the thermostat

Scheduling at least one maintenance checkup every year will help you get the most out of your HVAC system. Ideally, your system should run reliably for 15 to 25 years. If you haven’t done so already, contact us at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical to schedule a visit from our technicians by the beginning of the fall.

2. Change Your HVAC Filter

Your HVAC filter should at least be checked every month even if you don’t have to change it. The filter is responsible for removing harmful pollutants such as pet dander, pollen, dust, mold, and anything else that could affect your home’s air quality. Replacing it is a simple matter. All you need to do is purchase a new filter from a hardware store or department store and swap it out with your old filter. This is more important in the fall and winter since you will likely be spending more time indoors with your windows closed.

3. Clean Off Your Outdoor AC Unit

If you have central air conditioning in your home, you have an outdoor AC unit. This is constantly exposed to the elements, so it frequently gets covered by leaves, branches, dirt, and other debris that could affect its performance. You might not need to turn on your AC during the fall and winter, but you should still take some time to clean off the outdoor unit before you retire it for the next several months. To do this, use a brush to remove dirt and other debris from the fins that cover the coils. Next, remove any vegetation that is growing too close to the unit, and prune nearby bushes and tree branches as well.

If you’re really worried about your outdoor unit, you can always cover it with a tarp for the winter, although this usually isn’t necessary. If you do cover your unit, do so when it is completely dry. The last thing you want is to trap moisture in your unit for the fall and winter. This trapped moisture could lead to unwanted corrosion.

4. Locate Drafts in Your Home

Gaps around doors or windows can create all kinds of problems for your home. These problems may not always be noticeable in the summer when you want to keep your home cool, but you will notice the cold drafts in the fall and winter.

Before you have to rely on your furnace to keep your home warm, take some time to locate any drafts in your residence and seal them wherever you can. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before, but it can help your home feel warmer in the winter and keep your utility bills down to a manageable level. If you don’t think you can find all the drafts in your home or if you don’t know how to seal them, reach out to us at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical for assistance. We will be glad to make some recommendations if you need us to.

5. Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly in large amounts. It’s produced by incomplete fuel combustion, which can occur in HVAC systems with blocked flues or damaged heat exchangers. Your regular maintenance checkup should catch any of these issues before they can cause real problems, but you should never assume that your home is completely safe from carbon monoxide.

To keep you and your family protected, your home should have at least a few carbon monoxide detectors installed in specific places. Ideally, you should have at least one detector for each floor of your house. Install these if you haven’t done so already, and check them before the fall season starts. You can test them just as you would test a smoke detector. If any carbon monoxide detectors aren’t working, replace the batteries. If that doesn’t get them working properly, you’ll need to buy new carbon monoxide detectors.

What Not to Do

Like most things related to your home, preparing an HVAC system for the fall and ensuring that everything works properly is really a matter of common sense. However, there are some common mistakes that people make every fall with their heating and cooling systems, and you should avoid them. First of all, never wait until the last minute to fix a problem with your HVAC system. Waiting too long could make the problem worse, which could result in a higher repair bill. It’s also a lot harder to get an HVAC repair professional to your home in the middle of a snowy winter than during the beginning of fall.

Second, never store items such as grills or yard furniture too close to your outdoor AC unit. Your outdoor unit needs plenty of space to function properly, which is why you need to get rid of vegetation near it and prune hanging tree branches.

Finally, don’t store anything too close to your furnace. Your furnace might be located near a place that is used for storage in your home, but that doesn’t mean this space should be crowded. There should be enough room for you or an HVAC professional to access your furnace safely if any repairs need to be made.

Turn to Local Experts for Assistance

Whether you think your HVAC system needs a quick checkup or serious repairs before the fall, don’t hesitate to enlist us at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical for assistance. Our staff specializes in AC and furnace installation, repair, and maintenance, and we will be happy to get your HVAC system in good working condition before the fall season begins. We also offer plumbing and remodeling services as well as emergency HVAC and plumbing repairs for homeowners in Lincoln, NE and the surrounding areas. For more information about the services that we have to offer, contact our professionals at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical today.

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