Fall is a good time to check your heating system before the winter

Maintenance Tips For Your HVAC System This Fall

In Northern Virginia, it’s getting to be that time of year when we start turning on our heating systems. For an unlucky few, that might also mean an unpleasant surprise, a broken system, and emergency HVAC appointments. The best way to avoid those surprises is a regular maintenance routine, including some things you can do at home and some things you should have a professional technician do.

First, here are the things you can do at home yourself:

Change your air filter regularly – You should check your air filter every month to see how it holds up over time. It should be cleaned or replaced once every three months. Dirty filters make the central unit work harder to circulate air, leading to higher costs and more wear and tear on the system.

Look after your outdoor unit – That unit in your backyard is as important as the indoor unit. Keep it clear of plants, leaves, and other debris, and hose off your condenser if you have one. Basically, make sure airflow is completely unimpeded.

Keep all your vents clear – There are supply and return vents leading air into and out of your home. Just like the main outdoor unit, check these and make sure they are completely unobstructed. Even partial blockage can hurt your system’s efficiency.

Make it a regular part of household maintenance – To keep up to date on all this, make sure these regular checks are on the same calendar where you keep track of other household maintenance. And yes, we know no one likes additional chores to eat up their evenings and weekends. But you will like lower maintenance costs and fewer expensive emergencies, and regular maintenance is the way to have that.

In addition to the basic checks you can do yourself, you should also have an HVAC technician come do an annual inspection. Try to get it done in the Spring before it gets hot, or in the Fall before it gets cold. But get it done anyway.

Here are the things a professional should check:

Refrigerant levels – These need to be within a certain range. Too little or too much in the system is like a patient have low or high blood pressure. A technician will know if they are right. Note: this is for the AC side of a system, but it still makes sense in an annual inspection.

Ductwork leaks – If there are air leaks in the ductwork if will reduce the system’s efficiency, meaning higher costs for less comfort.

Thermostat functioning – It’s hard to run a system well if the thermostat is not reading temperatures right, or otherwise not working.

System diagnostics – Some things affect the health of your system which you can’t measure yourself. Electrical control sequence, evaporator airflow, and controls like auto-shutoffs affect the proper and safe operation of your system.

Other maintenance needs – Lastly, your technician should lubricate the system’s motors, clean the blowers and adjust as necessary, and check for any problems like loose connections or plugged condensate drains before they become problems.

If you think it’s been a while since your heating system was checked, or if you just want to check it before the cold weather starts, call Twin Air at (703) 754-1062, or contact us online. Our experienced technicians are here to give peace of mind that your system will keep you and your family comfortable all winter.

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