Winterize Your Home & HVAC Systems
Before you spend your days bundled up and staying warm inside, you need to prepare your HVAC systems for the colder weather. You’ll rely on your furnace to keep inside temperatures cozy for the next few months and even though your A/C hibernates for the winter, it will need to be protected from the elements, too.
Taking the time to winterize your home and your HVAC systems now means you’ll be able to rely on them all winter long without worry. An inspected and tuned up furnace will keep your home warm, operate safely, and help you save on those energy bill costs during the winter. Follow these tips for winterizing your home.
Prepare Your Home
The first place to start in the winterization process, before even looking at your HVAC systems, is with your home. By checking these items, you’ll save on energy costs and can trust that your heating system will be running as efficiently as it can.
- Check for drafts: If you can feel cool air through a window, or test it with a small flame and see flickering, you’ll need to reseal your windows or doors. Any leak will make your furnace work harder to keep your home warm, decreasing its longevity and causing an increase in energy costs. If you find a draft, install weather stripping or caulk the affected area.
- Install a programmable thermostat: If you’re not at home, your heat won’t need to be running at full blast. But, when it is time to return, you want a warm place to go to. With a standard thermostat you would have to turn it off during the day to save money and wait until you got home to turn it back on. With a programmable thermostat, you can have it turn on just before you get home so you’ll be returning to a comfortable, cozy space.
- Install or check for insulation: If you do not already have insulation, now is the perfect time to add it. Insulation will help keep the hot air in and the cold air out during the winter, resulting in smaller temperature fluctuations throughout the day and night.
Winterize Your A/C Unit
With cooler temperatures outside, you won’t be needing to run your air conditioner inside. In all likeliness, it won’t be turned on again until spring. This doesn’t mean it can be forgotten about though. Your air conditioning unit will be outside, dealing with the elements, and will need to be winterized, too. Following these steps will protect your A/C system from snow, ice, and potentially rust.
- Remove leaves, twigs, and debris: Cleaning up around the A/C system will prevent any debris from entering or damaging your unit.
- Flip the circuit switch: If there happens to be a warm day during winter, you don’t want the A/C unit to turn on unexpectedly. Make sure it is powered off at the circuit breaker and no electricity can flow to the system. This will prevent the lines from freezing if that warm day turns into a cold night.
- Install foam around pipes: Adding insulation to the pipes will keep them from freezing. Just like a can of soda will pop in the freezer, any frozen fluid in your A/C systems lines can cause damage.
- Cover the unit: Find a waterproof cover to prevent snow and debris from falling into your A/C unit. If that snow or debris were to sit in there throughout the winter, it could cause damage to internal parts.
- Check the unit frequently: After snowstorms, or even just periodically throughout winter, inspect your A/C system for damage or debris. Keeping it clean and taking care of any issues now means you’ll be able to turn it back on in spring without any worries.
Winterize Your Furnace
Your furnace will most likely be running all winter long and you’ll want it to be running safely and efficiently. Follow these steps to make sure it can handle those cold nights.
- Clean around your furnace: Your furnace will burn hot during the winter and you’ll want to make sure it is clear of any combustible materials. Failure to remove these items could result in a fire hazard and damage to more than just your furnace.
- Check the exhaust: When clearing your furnace of any debris, also make sure the exhaust vents are clear. Any back up here can cause problems.
- Check (or install) your carbon monoxide detector: Keep your family safe by making sure your carbon monoxide detector is functioning as it should. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so if your furnace has any mechanical issues that result in CO entering your home, you’ll want the warning.
- Service your furnace: With many months of work ahead of it, make sure your furnace is in top shape. Check the blower belt, oil the blower motor, and inspect all mechanical aspects of your furnace. If you need some help with a furnace tune-up, give us a call.
- Replace your filters: To make sure the air coming into your home is clean and clear (and that your furnace doesn’t ingest any debris), replace your filters. It is also handy to have a few spares on hand so you can swap them out throughout the season.
Winterize Your Home
A little preparation now will go a long way this winter. Follow the steps above to winterize your home and make sure that your A/C will stay protected and your furnace can keep you warm all winter. If you need help with preparing your home for winter, or have any questions, contact us so we can guide you through it!