Now is the time to prepare for the winter heating season and avoid those costly HVAC emergency repairs by preparing your HVAC furnace. The average high temperature for the Raleigh, NC area is 63 degrees in November, dropping to 54 degrees in December. Proper preparation of your heating system will result in greater efficiency and can reduce the cost of utility bills while improving the comfort level of your home. Some HVAC furnace repairs cannot be completed in just a couple of days, so act now and avoid that heating emergency when the cold weather arrives.
Professional HVAC Furnace Servicing
A professional checkup of your HVAC will help keep your system operating at peak performance. Your unit will be inspected to verify it is functioning safely and correctly. This generally includes a check and cleaning of furnace heat exchanger and burner operation, lubrication check of the blower assembly, control system and thermostat operation, inspection of electrical connections, verification that the unit is venting correctly, and filter condition. Keeping your system operating at peak performance will reduce runtime and energy cost.
Homeowner HVAC Furnace Maintenance
Efficient operation of your heating system requires seasonal maintenance, some of which can be effectively completed by the homeowner. Air Flow is a primary requirement of your system, as well as Home Integrity. These areas should be maintained throughout the heating season.
Air Flow – Filters
The introduction and buildup of dirt is often the cause of heating repair and air conditioning emergencies. Dirt buildup in the filter(s) restricts air flow causing the unit to operate longer. Filters should be checked monthly and replaced at least every three months. Various types of filters are available.
Air Flow – Intakes and Diffusers
Check that air return grates and duct openings are clean and unclogged, allowing for free air flow. Clean as necessary. Some homes are equipped with dual air return registers, allowing for the air conditioning system to draw return warm air from the ceiling . For winter operation, return air registers at ceiling areas should be closed, and registers at floor level opened. Also check duct work at the furnace / air conditioner area for dampers allowing for alternate return air supplies to the furnace.
Air Flow – Duct Seals
Check ducts for air leaks concentrating first on attic and exposed basement areas where open to the outside air, and secondly on ducts inside the temperature controlled areas. Use aluminum tape to seal joints. Insulate exposed areas of duct work to help maintain temperature control within the system.
Home Integrity – Weather Stripping
Both the introduction of outside air and the escape of system air increase the run time needed to maintain comfortable temperatures. Check house for air leaks. Replace damaged or missing weather stripping at doors and windows. Caulk as needed to seal openings.
Home Integrity – Insulation
Heat rises, and a poorly insulated attic area will make a huge impact on your system through accelerating heat loss. This causes your furnace to run longer increasing energy usage and decreasing the comfort level of your home. Attic insulation at a minimum should be as deep as the ceiling joists. If not, as the weather cools it is a good time to add another layer.
Home Integrity – Thermostat
Outdated, mercury thermostats often become inaccurate with age, causing too much or too little heat to maintain a comfortable home environment, and often increasing operating cost. Your professional HVAC technician can assist you in determining which thermostat will adequately meet your needs. A digital, programmable thermostat with appropriate temperature and time settings is highly recommended. Check the settings on the Thermostat and verify they are operating correctly. Set the fan control to “Auto” rather than “On.” Adjusting the settings for unoccupied, sleep, and normal time controls will normally reduce run time, save energy, and reduce cost.
Home Integrity – Humidifier
Many heating systems include the installation of a humidifier at the furnace. Check that the unit is turned on for winter operation, that the control valve is supplying water to the unit as called for, and that the evaporator pad is clean and free of debris. It may be necessary to replace the pad on a frequent basis depending on the mineral content of the supplied water.
Wether your Raleigh home is equipped with a heat pump or furnace, regular professional inspection of your HVAC system performed twice a year is highly recommended. In-depth maintenance of your system by a professional Raleigh HVAC contractor will add to the life of your unit, decrease operating costs, help to eliminate emergency furnace repairs, and add to the comfort of your home. Call us today at 919- 457-2494 to schedule your HVAC furnace Winter maintenance.