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Turning on the Heat: How to Prep Your HVAC System

Published: October 14, 2020
 

Do you feel that chill in the air? Winter is almost here, and that means it’s time to prep your HVAC system for the season. Before you turn up the heat, you’ll need to do a little preventative maintenance to ensure it runs correctly. The last thing you’d want is for your system to conk out in the middle of a snowstorm. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got some tips on how to prep your HVAC system for winter.

Your HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Before you wake up your heater from its long summer’s nap, you’ll need to make sure it’s ready for use. The first step is to make sure it’s in working order. You can do that by turning the system on and turning the thermostat up. A simple test like this could prevent a serious service bill later on. Here are the next steps:

  • Listen to the System—Do you hear any unusual sounds such as banging or clanging? This could mean that a part is cracked, loose or damaged and needs repair.
  • Change the Filter—Your air filter should be changed every month or two, year-round. The filter collects dirt, dust, mold, pollen, and other particles that clog up the system and reduce your air quality (more tips on that below).
  • Check for Moisture—If you notice a lot of condensation on the windows, or rust on your vent pipe, it could indicate a larger issue with the system.
  • Cover Your Condenser—If your outdoor unit is older, you should protect the condenser with a breathable fabric cover. This will prevent damage from heavy snow, leaves and branches.
  • Clear the Way—It’s also helpful to remove any fallen debris from around your outside unit. Similarly, you should remove all items from around your furnace because it could create a fire hazard.

Improve Your Air Quality with HVAC

During the summer months, you can open the windows anytime you want a little fresh air. Unfortunately, you don’t have this luxury during the winter months. This year, it’s more important than ever to keep the air inside your home fresh and clean.

In addition to regularly changing out your air filter, you can also upgrade it to a HEPA filter. These filters are designed to remove the most minute particles from the indoor air. Here are a few other tips that will help you improve your indoor air quality:

  • Clean Air Vents and Returns—Dirt and debris can accumulate on your air vents and returns. They pollute the air and can also restrict the quality of air flow, causing your system to work harder. Just turn off the unit and carefully remove the vents that need to be cleaned. You can use good old soap and water to clean them. Dry them thoroughly with a clean rag before you replace them. You should clean your vents at least twice a year and dust them regularly in between washings.
  • Clean Your Home Often—It’s even more important in the winter to keep your home clean. Dust and vacuum regularly to keep dirt out of your home and your HVAC system. Don’t forget to vacuum draperies and couches.

 

If you’re interested in HVAC maintenance and repair, you may be a good candidate for a career in this field. At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration that can prepare you for an entry-level job in as little as 10 months. Call 888-200-9942 to learn more.