6 Tips to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for Winter Snowstorms
Flakes of Fury!
Written by CW Suter
Energy Efficiency furnace Winter
Importance of Winter Preparedness
Benjamin Franklin once said, “…In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In Siouxland, you can add severe winter weather to that short list. Fortunately, most people in the tristate area know the importance of winter preparedness. What they might not be aware of is that preparing your HVAC system for winter can lower your electricity bill, cut your energy usage, and extend the life of your HVAC system.
#1 Furnace Maintenance is Critical
It’s a consensus among HVAC professionals that many furnace breakdowns and repairs are due to lack of maintenance. Furnace maintenance is one of the most effective and easiest ways to prepare your home for extreme cold and severe winter storms. Think of heating maintenance like you would maintenance on your car. If you don’t get an oil change for 5 years, how well is your car going to perform? How long will it last? If you haven’t scheduled your annual Fall Tune-Up yet, now is the time. Through November (2017), a free carbon monoxide detector is included with your Fall Tune-Up.
#2 Replace Your Aging Furnace Before It Dies
On average, furnaces have a lifespan of 15-20 years with annual maintenance. Without annual maintenance, a furnace’s lifespan is significantly shortened. If having to call an HVAC contractor for emergency furnace repair or installation during a winter storm sounds like the thing nightmare’s are made of, we agree. To avoid such a nightmare, replace your furnace before the winter snowstorms hit. Here are some indicators that your furnace may need to be replaced:
- Furnace hasn’t been serviced regularly
- Energy bills are on the rise
- Furnace is struggling to keep your home warm
- Furnace has become a money pit when it comes to repairs
- Furnace is aging – 15-20 years or older. A word of advice from the wise: replace if your furnace could be described as “antique,” “old fashioned,” or if it looks like a wood burning stove.
Installing a new energy-efficient heating unit can drastically cut your energy costs. Also, replacing a failing or aging unit before severe winter weather strikes will put your mind at ease.
#3 Replace Your Dirty Filter
A dirty filter will have to work harder to get heat through your home, which results in dirty air and increased energy costs. Your filter should be replaced per your furnace manufacturer’s instructions, but the timeline is typically every one to three months. If you have pets or children, your filter may need to be replaced sooner rather than later (monthly).
#4 Clear Air Vents
Couches and other objects can block your vents and severely limit airflow in your home, which causes uncomfortable drops in temperature. Move any objects that are obstructing airflow, and make sure your vents are open.
#5 Properly Insulate Your Home
Having your home properly insulated is one of the best ways to keep the temperature regulated throughout the house. A lot of heat is lost through your roof, so it’s no surprise that having your attic properly insulted will save you money on your heating bill. There are many companies in our area that offer insulation services, but if you’re feeling handy, you can always go the DIY route.
If you’re worried about your home losing heat through windows, doors, walls, or your attic, consider contacting us to perform a home comfort assessment. During which we will assess how much energy your home consumes and come up with a list of solutions that will make your home more energy efficient. This can add up to significant savings over time.
#6 Inspect Your Heat Pump
There isn’t much maintenance involved with a heat pump. Most are designed to prevent snow from accumulating on the unit. Our only advice is to make sure the top of the unit is clear during times of heavy ice or snow.
A hard snow has yet to hit the tristate area, and for that, we should consider ourselves lucky. We all remember the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 and how much fun that was (insert sarcasm here). The frigid temps and blistery winds have made their way into Siouxland. Winter is coming here. If you haven’t already, schedule your Fall Tune-Up to make sure your furnace is in tip top shape. All of the common issues we’ve listed above can be addressed and resolved by a one our HVAC professionals.