HVAC Maintenance for Fall and Winter

outdoor ac

No one wants to pay for avoidable HVAC repairs or worse — suffer through a cold winter night with a broken heat pump or furnace. Regular maintenance is an easy and cost-effective way to get the most out of your HVAC system and keep it running as it should. With fall just around the corner, here are easy fall and winter HVAC maintenance steps you can take to avoid costly HVAC repair in Fredericksburg.

Air Conditioner Fall Maintenance

Your air conditioner won’t be needed in the fall and winter but it shouldn’t be neglected. Ignoring your AC system throughout the winter can lead to costly AC repair in Fredericksburg when spring rolls around. Once the cooling season is over, turn off your air conditioner and clean the outdoor unit to remove debris, leaves, bird droppings, and dirt. This can help keep the air conditioner from getting clogged or deteriorating before spring. Look for visible damage to your AC unit like rust or cracks in the casing, leaks, or cracked seals. You can also cover your outdoor unit to protect it from the elements.

Fall is also a good time to schedule AC repair in Fredericksburg. If you know your system needs a tune-up or repair, doing it during the off-season can ensure your system is ready to go when the weather warms up again.

Important HVAC Fall and Winter Maintenace

Here are the most essential steps to take in the fall to extend the life of your HVAC system and prevent unexpected problems or premature system failure.

changing air filter in hvac

Change Air Filters

One of the most important things you can do to increase the efficiency and longevity of your HVAC system is simply changing your filters regularly. Airflow problems are often caused by dirty or clogged filters. A dirty filter also increases strain on your system and it can lead to damage and avoidable heating repair in Fredericksburg.

Your air filters have an important job: filtering out dust, pollen, and contaminants from the air before it reaches your HVAC system and ductwork. These filters should be changed based on manufacturer’s recommendations and your usage. As a general rule, filters should be changed every 1 to 3 months. If you have a large household, pets, or family members with allergies, the filter should be changed more frequently.

Depending on your system, your air filter may be:

  • In a slot on the top, bottom, or side of the furnace
  • Inside your air handler or furnace blower compartment
  • Behind a return air grille in the ceiling or wall

Check Window and Door Seals

Your heating system works best when there are no drafts or air leaks coming from the windows and doors. Adding or replacing weatherstripping is an easy way to boost the performance of your furnace in the winter while reducing your energy bill.

Check the Heat Exchanger for Damage

If your home has a gas furnace, it’s very important to have it inspected every year. Your furnace produces dangerous carbon monoxide as a byproduct but it should be safely exhausted out of the home. If your heat exchanger develops damage like a crack, it can pose a real danger by potentially allowing carbon monoxide to leak out and into your home. If your heat exchanger is cracked, your furnace may still operate — but not for long. It may be possible to replace the heat exchanger if it’s under warranty. Otherwise, it may be better to invest in a new furnace.

checking thermostat

Have the Thermostat Checked

If your thermostat isn’t calibrated, it may cause your heating system to run longer than necessary. Even a single degree can add 5-8% to your energy bill. Calibrating the thermostat is a simple form of maintenance but your thermostat may also need to be replaced. The good news is this is a very affordable form of HVAC repair in Fredericksburg.

Schedule a Heating System Tune-up

A tune-up is an affordable way to make sure your heating system is ready for winter and working as efficiently as possible. An HVAC technician will check all components of your heating system, recommend heating repair in Fredericksburg when necessary to avoid problems, and clean, adjust, and lubricate parts as needed. Your tune-up will include an inspection of your flue pipe, a check for restricted combustion openings, a failed or dirty pilot, dirty burners, and more.

Heat Pump Fall Maintenance

Heat pumps have a big advantage: they can heat and cool your home for year-round use. Of course, this means your heat pump also experiences more stress than a furnace or air conditioner. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid an unexpected heat pump failure, especially during the winter. Fall is the best time to schedule maintenance because your heat pump will get a break from cooling before the weather gets really cold. It’s also the best time for heat pump repair in Fredericksburg in preparation for the heating season.

Here’s how to maintain your heat pump in the fall and winter:

  • Watch for excessive snow and ice on or around the heat pump in the winter. Before removing the ice and snow, turn your thermostat to Emergency heat or off and remove the build-up with warm, not hot water.
  • Check your air filters every month, replacing or cleaning as needed.
  • Clean your outdoor coils in the fall with the unit turned off.
  • Trim shrubs and grass back 18″ from all sides of the heat pump.
  • Have your heat pump inspected and serviced. Regular servicing will include an inspection and cleaning of your indoor coil, oiling the bearings or motor as needed, inspecting the electrical wiring, cleaning internal components, and other checks to make sure the heat pump is working as efficiently as possible. A fall inspection can also detect necessary heat pump repair in Fredericksburg before the problem becomes worse and leads to a bigger repair bill or system failure.

Ready to schedule your fall HVAC tune-up or repairs? Contact the Fredericksburg HVAC pros at Complete Heating & Cooling today at (540) 370-4178.