Don't Get Left In The Cold: 3 Tips To Prepare Your Heating And Cooling System For Winter

Posted on: 8 October 2015

With winter fast approaching, it's time to start preparing your home for the cold temperatures that are soon to arrive. That means more than just buying colored lights to decorate your house for Christmas. You depend on your central heating and cooling system to keep your home warm during the cold winter months, and you don't want to end up shivering in the cold because you skipped needed maintenance for your system. Take a look at the most important steps you need to take to make sure that your home stays toasty and warm this winter.

Clean Your Outdoor Unit

You may not have needed to run either the air conditioning or the heat during the fall season, when the temperatures were not too hot and not too cold. But while your system was sitting inactive, trees were shedding their leaves in your neighborhood – and possibly in your backyard. During the fall months, it's common for the outdoor unit of a heating and cooling system to become clogged with dead leaves, small twigs and branches, and other yard debris. You'll want to clean this out before you turn your system on for the winter.

Luckily, it's not difficult to clean your outdoor unit. Start by shutting the power to the system off. You should be able to find the power shutoff somewhere near the unit, in the form of a switch, a fuse box, or a pull lever. After you turn the power off, open the box – you may need to loosen some screws to do this – and remove any large debris. Use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to clean the fan. Unscrew the fan to gain access to the condenser, and vacuum up any debris caught inside. Then locate the lubrication ports and add a few drops of electric motor oil to each port before reassembling the fan.

Check Your Insulation

If your home isn't properly insulated, your system will have to work a lot harder in order to effectively heat your home. A lack of insulation can cause cold spots in your home at best – at worst, you'll overwork your heater and burn out your motor, necessitating an expensive repair.

Check your basement exhaust holes, your attic or crawl space, and your doors and windows for air leaks, and seal them up as you find them. You can use spray-foam to quickly and easily seal large leaks in the basement or attic. Simple weather stripping around your windows and doors can prevent smaller leaks. Not only will sealing any air leaks be better for your system and more comfortable for you, it will also keep your heating bills lower.

Have Your Ductwork Inspected and Cleaned

Having your ducts cleaned can increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. It can also make your air filters last longer. If there's less dust, pollen, and dirt flying around in the duct system, then there's less of it to get caught in the filters, and you won't have to change them and clean them as often. If you or a family member suffer from allergies, you'll find that the house is more pleasant and easier to breathe in after having the ductwork cleaned.

A duct inspection can also catch leaks in the ductwork that can lead to heat loss in your home. A gap or hole in your ducts can prevent hot air from reaching your vents and make your system seem less efficient. You should always have a qualified HVAC technician clean and inspect your ducts.

It's not a bad idea to schedule a full HVAC inspection and tune-up before the winter months hit. You depend on your heater to keep you warm and safe during harsh temperatures, so do yourself a favor and make sure that your system is up to the job. For more information, contact a local HVAC company like Climec Residential Inc.


Summer is Upon Us – Is Your AC Working?

Hi. My name is Laurie Waters. The HVAC contractor was just out at our house last week and did I ever get a lesson from him. You see, we had a warm spell hit and I went to turn our air conditioning on for the first time since last summer. Much to my dismay, it wasn’t working. All I got was a blast of warm air. The fan was bringing the outdoor heat inside. Thank goodness it wasn’t anything major. My unit needed Freon. While he was here, the contractor taught me how to do some routine maintenance around my unit, vents, and filters. I’m going to share this information with you. I hope you find it to be useful.

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