As summer winds down in the Midwest, thoughts turn to fall. The changing leaves signal that it’s time to begin prepping for the colder months when A/C is a distant memory and we’re instead craving cozy warmth. Take advantage of the pleasant fall days to prepare your HVAC system for fall with these tips from Ernst Heating & Cooling.
Replace your air filters
Start the new season with a fresh air filter on your furnace. Your air filter has been working hard all summer to capture the dust, pollen, and other irritants from the outside air. If the filter becomes dirty and clogged, your HVAC system will work harder to do its job this winter. At best, you can see higher energy bills due to inefficient airflow. At worst, you can put too much stress on the system and face a costly repair.
Clean your vents and remove any obstructions
If you like to move the furniture periodically, make sure your new interior design isn’t interfering with the supply and return vents. Fall is the perfect time to take inventory of your home so it’s ready to circulate warmer air during the colder months. It’s also a good excuse for removing the vent covers and thoroughly cleaning them in some warm, sudsy water. While you’re at it, use your vacuum attachment to grab the dust, dirt, and pet hair that likes to take up residence inside the ductwork.
Remember, closing an air vent in an unused room will not save money. Instead, it can compromise your system and make your HVAC unit work harder.
Seal any leaks around your home
Don’t wait until the gusty winds blow cold air into your home this winter. Seal any cracks and drafts now to give your HVAC system a head start in heating your home. Did you know a drafty window can be responsible for 25%-30% of your heating and cooling energy use? Pull out your caulk and weatherstrip, and get to work!
Consider a thermostat upgrade
Have you been relying on an old-school thermostat? You could spend extra money heating an empty home or leaving the temperature too high at night. A programmable thermostat lets you craft a schedule for your family’s activities so you don’t have to remember to turn it down before bed. Or, invest in a smart thermostat that lets you control your home’s temperature and humidity levels via your phone!
Test your carbon monoxide detectors
It’s easy to ignore these devices when you don’t need them, but giving them the necessary attention before you need them is important. Your home’s gas furnace or boiler is designed to be safe. However, in rare cases, something can go wrong – the heat exchanger can develop a crack, or the flue may become blocked – triggering a series of mishaps that produce dangerous carbon monoxide. Ensure your carbon monoxide detector has fresh batteries and produces a large, steady alarm when you press the test button.
Clean around your outdoor unit
As you tackle your fall yard chores, include your outdoor unit in the game plan. Clear away any dirt, rocks, twigs, and dead leaves that accumulate around it. Trim any foliage or greenery that has grown too close to the unit. Trim nearby trees to minimize the risk of falling branches during fall and winter storms.
Schedule an HVAC tune-up
At Ernst Heating & Cooling, we recommend two annual tune-ups – one in the spring and one in the fall. These important maintenance visits can mean the difference between a system that gives you years of service and one that sees a premature demise. Our trained HVAC technicians will thoroughly inspect your system, cleaning heating chambers, adjusting the flue pipe, checking all moving parts, and potentially catching small problems before they become an expensive repair call. If you like to save money, sign up for the Ernst Comfort Plan, which includes two precision tune-ups each year, discounts on repairs and filters, and priority scheduling.
Consider an upgrade
Is your HVAC system showing its age? If your system is breaking down frequently or not working as well as it should, it may be time for an upgrade. We understand nobody likes unexpected bills, but remember that newer HVAC technology can save you money in the long run with higher efficiency and lower energy bills. Your friends at Ernst Heating & Cooling can also advise you on whether you qualify for tax rebates and savings under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
Seasons may change, but you can always depend on Ernst Heating & Cooling to keep your Metro East Illinois home’s HVAC system working and ready for any weather. To schedule a tune-up or learn more about new HVAC technology, call us at 618.217.1836 or schedule an online appointment. Stay ahead of the chill with Ernst Heating & Cooling.