Fall HVAC Preventive Maintenance Checklist
May 16, 2019
Fall HVAC Maintenance Check
The autumn season has always been some sort of a crossroads for HVAC equipment. It’s the time when air conditioning units have just gone through a grueling summer, while heating equipment was in hibernation.
With the advent of fall, it’s time for your AC system to take a break, and for your furnace to wake up and prepare for heavy use in the coming winter months.
In other words, the fall is the perfect time for some HVAC maintenance. With maintenance, your heating system will be ready to take on the winter after a long rest, and your air conditioner will still run properly when its own turn to come out of its winter sleep arrives.
Your fall HVAC maintenance checklist
Protect your AC condenser
If your heating system for the winter is not a heat pump but a furnace, then you have an air conditioner that will be left exposed to the elements with little to no work to do during the autumn. When winter sets in, you need to protect it from snowfall and sleet, which could do a number on your AC unit and cause problems when it’s time to use it again.
The best protection your AC unit’s outdoor condenser can have for the winter is an air conditioner cover that you can easily purchase at most home improvement stores. If you can’t find one or you don’t want to spend for it, placing a piece of plywood on top of the unit will do. Just make sure it’s large enough to cover and give the unit an overhang and put a heavy brick or stone on top of it to make sure it stays in place.
Check your outdoor unit
If you’re using a heat pump to keep yourselves warm during the winter, then you have an outdoor unit that needs to be clear of debris to function properly. Remove leaves, grass, or any type of vegetation that surrounds it to make sure airflow is optimal. The area around your outdoor unit is also no place for garbage or recycle bins. The exhaust vents must also be debris-free.
Check your furnace or heat pump filters
Manufacturers of HVAC systems typically recommend cleaning or replacing air filters every three months, but some quarters suggest doing it on a monthly basis.
If cleaning or replacing air filters every month makes for more efficient airflow, then do it, by all means. Take out the air filter and wash it, then make sure it’s completely dry before you put it back.
If you can buy extra filters during the warmer months, the better it would be since they tend to be cheaper. Better yet, buy and install high-efficiency pleated air filters. These new filters are designed to be far more effective at filtering dust, mold, pet dander, pollen, and other air particles, thanks to its electrostatic charge feature.
Clear the area around the furnace
Many among us have this habit of placing or storing things near equipment that’s not in use, like a furnace during the summer months. By fall, however, the furnace must be prepped for the arrival of winter, so don’t forget to remove all those things that you’ve placed near the furnace. You run the risk of them overheating or worse, catching fire if they’re still close to the furnace by the time it’s fully operational.
If you’re relying on a gas furnace for your heating needs in the winter, then it’s best to stock up on gas before winter comes. Fuel tends to be less expensive during the summer, and prohibitive during the winter.
Test your furnace’s igniter switch
With an old furnace, you may only need to relight the pilot, but if your furnace is of a newer model, then you will have to test its electronic igniter switch. If the ignitor doesn’t work, just hit the reset button. If nothing happens, then it’s time to bring in an HVAC professional.
Maintenance work that only HVAC professionals must do
In case you didn’t notice, all of the previous items are things that you yourself can do. However, there are maintenance tasks that only an HVAC technician can perform. You wouldn’t want to risk disassembling parts of your HVAC system only to find out that you can’t put them all back together properly.
There’s also the fact that trained and experienced HVAC technicians can spot small problems better than you can and deal with them before they become big ones.
Also, spending for the HVAC maintenance cost now will always be cheaper than paying for repairs in the future.
Some of the fall maintenance work best left to HVAC professionals include:
- Cleaning the heat exchanger
- Checking the heat exchanger to rule out the risk of a deadly carbon monoxide leak
- Checking the calibration of your thermostat
- Inspecting all electrical connections and making sure they’re tight
- Lubricating all moving parts
- Checking gas connections
- Test system controls on startup, operation, and shut down.
- Cleaning system components
- Conducting a combustion efficiency test
Why should you perform a fall HVAC maintenance check?
Apart from autumn being the ideal time to make sure heating systems will be working just fine for the winter and air conditioners ready for a long break, it’s also the season when most HVAC professionals have freer schedules to perform regular maintenance work. For most of the year, HVAC experts are typically flooded with emergency calls because of heating and air conditioning system breakdowns.
The autumn season, indeed, is the best time to check on your HVAC system. By performing early HVAC preventative maintenance and if necessary, repairs, on your HVAC system, you should be able to avoid costly and dangerous breakdowns in the middle of winter. You and your family are assured of warm and comfortable days all throughout the winter.
When it’s time to replace your HVAC system
In the event a professional check reveals that your HVAC system is no longer working properly and needs to be replaced, don’t hesitate to contact us at New AC Unit. Whether you want a heat pump or a furnace, we can assure you that you will get nothing but the best HVAC system available.