An Iowa Fall Maintenance Checklist
Get your HVAC in shape!
Written by CW Suter
Energy Efficiency Fall furnace
A Fall Maintenance Checklist for Iowan Homeowners
Oh, Iowa, your temperature swings are enough to give us whiplash. There’s a familiar chill in the air meant to remind us that Fall is here and Winter will be following soon. Whether (weather?) you prefer the cool temperatures or the sweltering Iowa Summer heat, there’s no getting around the fact that there are some Fall Maintenance Checklist items that just have to be completed – even though your days and nights and weekends seem busier than ever:
High School Football games every Friday night. Youth Football leagues on Saturday morning, Youth Soccer in the afternoons. Homecoming parades. Pumpkin Spice
lattes everything. That HoneyDo list isn’t getting any shorter.
HVAC DIY’s to Avoid HoneyDon’t!
Yes, we do think there are plenty of things you can DIY when it comes to your Fall Maintenance, but there are some things, for safety reasons, that you should NOT attempt on your own: for anything involving electrical work or gas lines, just call a pro. It’s not worth risking your life (literally) or the functionality of your HVAC system, Furnace, AC, Air Purifier (or any other big item in your home) to save a few bucks.
DIY Fall HVAC Maintenance Checklist
Okay, now that the danger warning is out of the way, feel free to lean into the following Fall Maintenance Checklist for your HVAC System.
Replace Your Furnace Filter
This is the easiest, most beneficial DIY HVAC step you can take. Regularly replacement of your furnace filter benefits you in the following ways:
Extend the life of your HVAC unit
Keep energy costs down
Maintain healthy air quality
Keep your heating and cooling system clean
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average household energy bill is about $2,200 per year. If you change your filter per manufacturer instructions (typically once a month), you could slash your energy costs by as much as 15%. If you’re unsure how to change your furnace filter, this video will guide you through the process. Not into videos? No problem. When our SuterHero visits to complete your Fall Maintenance, ask them to show you how to change the filter – they love to help, and are happy to explain or answer any (all!) of your questions.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Having your fan run clockwise during the colder months makes a huge impact on your family’s comfort. During winter, warm air rises up to the ceiling fan while cool air will stay close to the ground. By flipping a switch and reversing your ceiling fan, cool air is forced up, and warmer air is pushed down. Depending on what kind of ceiling fan you have, you may have to remove a few screws to find the reversal switch.
Doors and windows with cracks or leaks can have a huge impact on your energy bill and comfort. In fact, if you added up all the holes, leaks, and gaps in the average American home, it would be like having a window open every day of the year. Our advice: check your weather stripping and caulking and replace any that are cracked or broken. Better still, get ahold of your local utility company and see if they offer a Free Home Energy Assessment. MidAmerican Energy offers this program (Mid American Home Check) in Sioux City.
Open Your Vents & Stop Closing Them!
Some people are under the impression that closing off your vents will save energy, and this does seem like a good idea, but a study done by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory begs to differ. The study concluded that if your home has a modern central heating and air conditioning system, closing off vents may cause an increase in energy use. They found that any benefit that was derived from the closing of vents was largely offset by duct leakage. Once your vents are all open, check for obstructions to your vents, which decrease airflow in a room. Make sure furniture, blinds, carpet, etc aren’t blocking them. In older homes, especially, we often find that beds are placed in front of or on the only air delivery vent in bedrooms. This creates a major waste of energy.
Clean Your Vents
Speaking of air delivery vent obstructions…are yours in need of cleaning? Vacuum and dust your vents to help get rid of pollen, dust, and pet dander. If you notice debris or your vents resemble the upper left portion picture below, contact us to schedule a duct cleaning. Dirty ducts lead to poor air quality and can negatively effect the health of your family. This is especially true for children, the elderly, and people with breathing issues.
Program Your Thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you should strongly consider investing in one. If you set your thermostat back 7-10 degrees while you sleep or are away from home, you could save up to 10% on your heating and cooling bill each year. Not sure what to get, or how to install it? Give us a call! We stock a variety of smart home devices, including programmable thermostats, from a variety of manufacturers, like Honeywell and Lennox. We’ll help you find the right device – and, of course, we can install your new thermostat and show you how to use it.
Schedule a Fall Tune Up
Performing DIY Fall HVAC Maintenance will, without a doubt, help cut back on energy use and save you money, but we cannot downplay the importance of scheduling your fall check up. Our experienced HVAC technicians will fix small problems before they become huge, costly ones. Our Fall Maintenance includes a 21-point inspection and tune up: it’s thorough and will save you time, money, and energy down the road.