With record low temperatures and snow accumulating across the country, it’s time to say welcome back to our favorite snowbirds. For clients returning home for the winter and for those who live here year-round, it’s also time for regular HVAC maintenance.
If it’s been a while since you thought about heating and cooling system maintenance, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure your home stays cool year-round.
Before you turn on your AC for the first time this season, take a minute and read today’s post.
Replace Your Air Filters
While you were away, dirt likely accumulated in your HVAC system. Also, remember that Florida is famous for hot and humid summers. Without air circulating in your system, humidity can encourage mold development.
The first thing you want to do for your system is to remove the dirty filters. Clogged and dirty filters don’t allow air to move well, resulting in higher energy bills. Dirty air filters can also cause damage to your HVAC system.
It’s a good idea to change the air filters every month while staying in your home.
Check Your Thermostat
After you change your air filters, take a minute to inspect and clean your thermostat.
Dust the outside with a clean cloth. Remove the cover and dust inside with a soft brush—a paintbrush works well. Slip a piece of paper between contact points to remove dust and dirt.
While you have the cover off, replace the batteries.
Next, put the cover back on and get ready to test the thermostat. Set the thermostat to COOL and the fan to AUTO. Bump the thermostat up a few degrees cooler than your current room temperature. Wait about 3-5 minutes for the AC to kick on.
If it doesn’t, contact your HVAC technician to come out and troubleshoot. If you haven’t upgraded to a programmable or smart thermostat, consider doing it this year.
Tip: Smart thermostats don’t need cleaning on the inside, but you can still wipe the outside with a soft cloth.
Are Your Vents Clear?
Air Vents are a critical part of your HVAC system. If they’re blocked, air can’t flow effectively.
It only takes a minute to walk through your home and make sure you don’t have furniture or boxes blocking air vents. Move anything that might obstruct airflow.
The reason we recommend this is that poor airflow causes your HVAC unit to work harder than it should. Make it easier for it to pump cool air into your home and reduce unnecessary stress on the unit by clearing your vents.
Another component of your system is the air ducts. If you’ve never had them cleaned, consider including that in your HVAC maintenance plan.
Pay Attention to Signals
We’re not talking about lights or alarms on an HVAC system. There aren’t any. What we’re suggesting is that you pay attention to signs and symptoms that your system needs help.
You should know how your system sounds and performs when it’s working properly.
If you notice hot spots in your home, it means your system isn’t cooling sufficiently. You might also notice extremes in your energy bill that point to a system issue.
Listen for unusual noises coming from both the inside and outside units. Use a flashlight and inspect the area around the base of each and look for visible signs of trouble.
You may have some simple repairs you feel comfortable taking care of, but for anything major, it’s best to let a professional service technician have a look.
What to Do with an Aging HVAC System
In Florida, the average HVAC system lasts around 15-20 years, depending on the brand and how well it’s maintained.
If you have an aging system, consider upgrading to one of the newer more efficient models. The new systems with their higher capacity and advanced technology can improve your cooling experience year-round. You will also save money on your energy bill.
If you’re not ready to invest in a new HVAC system, you should have regular maintenance on your current system. If your unit is over 5-years old and hasn’t had an HVAC inspection, put scheduling one on your winter to-do list.
Make an Appointment for an HVAC Inspection
One of the best things you can do for your HVAC system is to keep it finely tuned. That means routine inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician. How often is routine?
If you live here year-round, you likely use your AC all year. In the Florida climate, you should schedule two service calls for maintenance. If you’re a snowbird, you can get away with one, but have it done as soon as you return home for the winter.
HVAC maintenance detects damage and worn out parts. If caught early, your service team can make repairs before they turn into costly problems.
During your HVAC maintenance appointment, your technician should inspect all parts of your HVAC system. The technician will take care of cleaning and lubricating parts and will discuss any repairs or replacements necessary for better heating and cooling efficiency.
Your technician may also talk with you about an aging system (if appropriate) and any issues with the size of your system. This is the time to ask any questions you have about your AC.
Regular maintenance helps your system cool efficiently and reduces your chance of sudden breakdowns.
Need to Schedule HVAC Maintenance?
We hope our tips help you prepare for an enjoyable time back home and keep your AC system cooling effectively and efficiently. The best tip we know of to help your system is regular HVAC maintenance.
If you’re returning home for the winter and would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!