Prep Your HVAC System for Fall: 5 Tips

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Fall is upon us, which means the leaves are falling, and so is the temperature. It’s time to put away the patio furniture and pool toys and turn off the air conditioner since you’ll be needing the furnace before too long. Before the cold weather really hits, though, there are some maintenance tasks that need to be performed to your HVAC system in your home. See below for a few things you should do to prep your system for fall.

1. Clean the Condensing Unit

The unit outside (also called your condensing unit) should be cleaned before the beginning of the cold weather season hits. Here’s what to do:

  1. Turn the power off to your unit, then take a garden hose to spray it down. Never use a pressure washer, or you’ll end up bending the fins.
  2. Open the lid to the unit and carefully pull back the fan, which will be attached by wires. Pull out any debris inside that may have accumulated over summer.
  3. Next, spray the inside of the unit down with the garden hose, spraying the coils from the inside towards the outside to remove as much dirt as possible.
  4. Replace the lid, then inspect the fins for any damage. Try your best to make repairs to the fins using a dull knife or a fin straightening tool.
  5. Clean up the area around your unit as well, removing brush, weeds and landscaping that has grown too closely to the unit.
  6. Finally, once the unit is dry, place a tarp or a cover over the unit to protect it from any more falling leaves and debris.

Perform the cleaning tasks above after you’ve finished with your unit for the season, although you should keep it clean throughout the summer season as well.

2. Replace the Filters

Replace the air filter in your system with a brand-new filter that is the appropriate size for your unit. You can find replacement filters at your local hardware store or big box store. These filters should be replaced every other month. To help you remember, set a reminder on your cell phone, add it to your calendar at home or put it in your list of maintenance tasks. This is an important task that can prevent unnecessary breakdowns of your HVAC system.

To replace the filter you simply open the panel housing the filter, then pull the filter straight out. Replace the filter the same way you took the old one out.

3. Check the Thermostat

Your thermostat worked throughout the summer season, but check to be sure it will turn on your furnace as well. Change the setting to heat, then adjust the temperature so it starts the furnace. You may notice a burning smell at first, which is normal after the furnace has sat for so long. Adjust the temperature to be sure it turns off as well.

4. Clean the Furnace

Clean the furnace and the area surrounding it. The furnace can accumulate with dust and pet hair over those summer months, and you may have begun to store items closely to the furnace, which could be a fire hazard. Remove any items that don’t belong and give your furnace at least a three-foot perimeter all the way around. Open up the access panel on the furnace vacuum up any dust, dander and pet hair that you see inside.

5. Vacuum the Vents

The vents around your home can also accumulate with dust, dander and pet hair, in addition to other items that may have fallen down the vents. Vacuum the vents out with a hose attachment to get as deep inside as you can.

Your HVAC system will run season after season, but you need to perform maintenance tasks on your system, or you’ll end up with premature breakdowns and spending money on repairs unnecessarily. Call Controlled Comfort for help with these and other maintenance tasks to ensure they are done properly and to ensure your system will work properly season after season.

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