You might not think about your HVAC system (unless it has a problem.) But there are some crucial things to consider if you want your heating system to keep you comfortable. To ensure your heating system runs smoothly throughout the season, we’ve compiled some tips and advice to help you avoid potential troubles.
Protect Your HVAC System From Falling Snow/Ice & Other Debris
Be mindful of snow and ice accumulation above your heat pump or condenser. Heavy snow falling from the roof can collapse these systems.
Consider covering your AC condenser during the winter months to protect it from snow and ice and other debris that could fall inside or on top of it and cause damage. For areas that are prone to heavy snow accumulation you may want to consider adding a protective overhang above your outdoor unit or consider building a permanent protective structure that allows at least 5 feet of airflow above the system.
It’s also important to change the air filter every 1 – 3 months, depending on the type of air filter that you have and the air quality for that duration. Your air filter catches dirt, pollen, debris and particulates before they can enter your HVAC system. Over time, debris collects on your HVAC systems air filter and can block the proper air flow needed to operate–which can result in your system malfunctioning or burning out its motor. It’s a good idea to visually inspect your air filter monthly, until you get an idea of how the air quality affects the longevity of the filters you use.
Keep the Furnace Flue Above the Snow
Furnaces have flues that vent out carbon monoxide, steam and other flue gasses that would be unsafe inside of your home. Typically, you’ll find the furnace flue on the side of your home or on top of the roof. If the flue is not venting properly, built in safety mechanisms should shut down the furnace. If you find that your furnace has stopped working after a heavy snowfall, make sure that your furnace flue is not covered beneath the snow. It’s also a good idea to ensure your flue extends above the average snow accumulation level.
Heat Pumps Need Airflow – Don’t let them get buried.
If you have a heat pump, make sure it is clear of snow accumulating around it. If snow builds up around the heat pump, it will not be able to produce enough heat to keep your home warm. Heat pumps rely on the ability to transfer warm air from the outside of your home to the inside. The air is distributed throughout your home by your furnace or air handler. Even in cold temperatures these systems can still produce efficient heat, unless hindered by airflow or temperatures drop below freezing. Your heat strips or gas heat will kick in to help keep your home warm, but proper airflow around the condenser is essential for the system to function.
Yearly HVAC Maintenance a.k.a a Furnace Tune-up.
Did you know yearly maintenance is recommended for your HVAC system? Many HVAC companies offer affordable maintenance to ensure your furnace is operating efficiently and is problem free. Annual maintenance allows your technician to check key components, clean flame sensors, check gas pressures, and spot any small problems before they can become expensive repairs. Black Diamond Experts’ furnace tune-up even provides a complimentary air filter change.
If you feel like your heating system is running constantly, you may want to consider checking how well your home is insulated. Heating your home only to have it escape through poor insulation can lead to expensive utility bills and an overworked HVAC system. You may want to consider checking with ThermWise to see if they can do a home insulation audit and recommend ways you can improve keeping the heat inside your home.
Manual thermostats can overshoot temperature, waste energy, and cause your HVAC system to run longer than needed. Utilizing a smart thermostat is another way to increase your home’s energy efficiency and possibly boost the longevity of your HVAC system. A smart thermostat can learn your schedule and maintain a more consistent temperature.
If you encounter heating problems this winter, Black Diamond Experts HVAC technicians are available to help (even on the weekends).