With all the planning and activities surrounding the holidays, the last thing most homeowners have in mind is air conditioner repair and maintenance, but did you know that a bit of attention to your HVAC system this time of year can save you a lot of time–and money– in the summer? Don’t neglect your HVAC system, especially if you plan to turn your air conditioner off for part of the year. Here are some winterizing tips to consider.
Clear The Clutter
The outside portion of your air conditioner bears the brunt of any weather changes. Before the days get gloomy, take a few minutes to check on the following:
- Debris: are there branches, dead leaves, or weeds around your outdoor unit? These should be removed, so that nothing is touching the unit, possibly causing damage that would have to be repaired in the spring.
- Check for animals or insects: One reason for removing dead leaves or twigs from the area round your unit? Mice and other small animals like to make nests there, and you don’t want uninvited guests wintering in your air conditioner. Look for evidence of infestation like droppings or wasp nests. If you notice them, contact a qualified exterminator.
- Electrical connections: Without touching them, inspect the electrical cords going to and from your outdoor units, if visible. If you notice any fraying or damage, contact your HVAC professional immediately.
Change The Indoor Settings
Many people switch their air conditioner to “off” and don’t give it another thought, but unless you’re using a heating system, you might notice that the air in your home isn’t as well-circulated as usual. Some HVAC units have the option to continue to filter and circulate air with fans even though they’re not cooling it. If you want to continue to take advantage of your system’s air filtration, then consider switching to “circulate” rather than simply turning the system off. If you’re planning to switch to heating, see our next tip.
Baby Is It Cold Outside?
Are you switching from cooling to heating? When was the last time you gave your furnace any love? Just as air conditioners perform more efficiently and are more reliable when they have proper maintenance, so are furnaces. Here are a few things to think about checking, before the first cold snap:
- air filters
- cleanliness of the vents
If you can’t remember the last time you changed your furnace filters, and if you’ve never optimized the thermostat settings, now is the time to do so. And dirty, dusty vents can cause lung and eye irritation and aggravate the feeling of “dry winter air” that many people find so uncomfortable.