Autumn is a beautiful time of the year in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but the weather can vary wildly from one day to the next. It might feel like a warm, summery day, and the next night could feel downright cold. That’s why now is a good time to transition your Virginia heating and cooling system for fall weather. Follow these six HVAC maintenance steps, and you’ll feel comfortable no matter what the weather is like outdoors.
1. Clean Around the Outdoor Unit
Trees, shrubs, flowers and grass grow quickly. Now is the time to trim back the vegetation so that the outdoor unit has at least three feet of clearance in all directions. The outdoor unit needs this clearance for heat exchange. Keeping tree branches cut back away from the outdoor unit also lowers the risk of debris falling into the unit’s housing and damaging the fan, coils or motor. Use a broom or wet/dry vac to remove any leaves or dirt buildup. If you suspect debris is stuck in the unit, this requires professional attention.
2. Check and Change the Air Filter
Check the air filter of your heating and cooling system once per month, even if it’s been a month or two since you needed the air conditioning. If the filter is dirty, replace it. According to Energy Star, a dirty air filter increases heating and cooling costs and leads to premature equipment damage and failure. At minimum, replace the air filter every 60 to 90 days. Our NATE-certified technicians can show you how to do this and how to choose the right size and type of air filter for your heating and cooling system.
3. Invest in a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
Autumn’s variable temperatures could make it difficult for you to keep up with manual thermostat adjustments. As summer transitions into fall, this is a good time to invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. You can set different temperatures for different parts of the day. You can also program schedules for different days of the week. This allows you to maximize your comfort while you’re at home and save energy while you’re away. Smart thermostats learn your schedule and include an app for temperature adjustments when you’re away from home.
4. Clear the Vents and Air Ducts
Dusty and dirty air ducts and vents hinder airflow into the rooms of your home. Dust and dirt accumulate quickly, especially if your household includes a furry pet. Cleaning the vent covers and duct openings is easy, and you just need your vacuum, a screwdriver, a microfiber cloth and some dish soap. Use the screwdriver to remove the vent cover. Wipe dust and dirt off the cover with the soapy microfiber cloth. Use a clean cloth to dry the cover. With your vacuum’s extension hose, remove visible dirt and dust from the duct opening. Reattach the vent cover. Do this for all supply and return ducts in each room of your home.
5. Identify Air Leaks
You don’t want the energy used to heat or cool your home to leak outdoors. Now is the time to identify air leaks in your home. Common places include around door and window frames, plumbing and electrical conduits and vents. Gaps may be sealed with the proper type of caulk, weatherstripping or foaming insulation. Sealing these gaps also lowers the risk of critters getting into your home when cold weather arrives.
6. Schedule a Professional HVAC Maintenance Visit
Early autumn is an ideal time for heating maintenance. While the fall weather is still mild, have your heating system inspected and cleaned. Scheduling maintenance now ensures that the heating system is ready for the first burst of cold air. If our technicians identify any worn parts or areas of concern, there’s plenty of time for a repair. A well-maintained heating system will save you money on winter utility costs.
For more tips on what you can do to prepare your heating and air conditioning for fall weather, take a look at Climatemakers of VA’s HVAC maintenance services, or call us today for additional info.