The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Turn Up the Heat: Prepping Your HVAC System for Winter

 November 8, 2021 |  Home Maintenance, Safety, Cleaning Tips |  fall, winter, HVAC, appliances, ventilation

As the colder months roll in, it’s time to start preparing your home for chilly weather. One item you need to have on your weatherization to-do list is readying your HVAC system. Especially in locations that get sub-zero temperatures, your heating system will start working overtime. But before you flip on your heater, you need to ensure that it’s ready to go.

Change out your air filters.
Prior to turning your heater on, swap out the old air filters. These are one of the most important components of keeping your HVAC running efficiently. Clean air filters will also help if you suffer from allergies by cutting down on the amount of dust that’s recycled through your home. There are certain filters that are less porous and catch more dirt to cut down on allergens. However, these styles can hinder airflow and make your HVAC overheat.

Clear space around your heater and vents.
Being able to easily access your heater is essential to maintaining it. That means moving any furniture, boxes, or kid’s toys that are blocking your path. Keep about a three-foot radius around your heater to allow for maintenance work and prevent anything nearby from catching on fire. If you have floor vents, move items away from them as well, and check that they’re open. That way the heat will be properly dispersed throughout your home.

Clean out furnace burners.
This step is better left to a professional to avoid damaging your burners. When your furnace isn’t being used, dust and rust can collect on the burners. This can lead to costly repairs, and it might also release an unpleasant odor when the heater kicks on. An HVAC technician can clean the burners and replace any that aren’t working correctly. There may still be a slight burning smell within the first few cycles of use. If the scent doesn’t go away, you should call the technician back out.

Check the batteries in your alarm systems.
The risks of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning can increase dramatically during the winter months. Whether it’s from poor maintenance or incorrect installation, running your heater 24/7 can expedite these issues. Change the batteries in your detectors, and test that they’re all working properly. Remember: you should have at least one in each room and one on each floor of your home.

Don’t start out running at 100 percent.
Going from dormant to full blast can also be dangerous for your heater. Even if you’ve properly prepped your system, you run the risk of damaging something. Instead, slowly build up to the desired temperature you want for most of the winter season. Adjust the thermostat a few degrees each day, and keep track of how well your heater is handling the change. This will help you catch issues early on and prolong the life of your HVAC system.

Don’t get dried out.
Aside from your heater, winter can take a toll on your health. Being closed up inside with the heat going sucks the moisture out of the air. You can get sick easier and may notice that your skin gets dry. Your home’s flooring, walls, and other components might also suffer from dry air and begin to crack or warp. A good way to combat this is using humidifiers to replenish the moisture in your home.

Have a professional inspect your system.
Of course, the best way to ensure that your HVAC is ready for winter is having it checked by a professional. They’ll be able to thoroughly test your system and see that all vents inside and outside are working properly. An inspection with NPI can give you the knowledge you need about your home’s major components. Find your local inspector, and schedule an inspection today!

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