Winter HVAC Maintenance Advice for Cleveland Homeowners
In the Cleveland area, winter can be bitterly cold, with plenty of snow and ice. The warm breeze might still be on the horizon for a bit longer. Still, with the unpredictable weather near the lake, you want to ensure your HVAC system is ready for the winter. If you’re a Cleveland homeowner, here is some advice for winter HVAC maintenance.
1. Assess Your Furnace Before Winter Sets In
Your furnace goes unused for months after a long summer and warm fall, which may have caused damage. It will likely run under a lot of strain as you run it daily during winter, thus increasing your energy bills. You will need a professional to tune the furnace to ensure efficiency. Doing this will significantly lower your energy bills over the cold and winter seasons.
Besides that, you don’t want your furnace to stop operating in the middle of winter, which may cause health concerns, freeze pipes, and interfere with comfort. A poorly maintained furnace will cause the system to fail. An early assessment and tune-up before winter or fall will ensure all components function correctly and are ready to get you through the cold months.
2. Keep Up With Air Filter Changes
You should change your home’s HVAC air filters every one to three months. However, it’s particularly important during winter HVAC maintenance because your HVAC system will work extra hard during the season. In Cleveland, there are frequent swings in weather, with homeowners frequently changing from air to heat to fans. Ensuring you change your HVAC air filters before switching back to heat or winter is essential.
Changing your HVAC’s air filters regularly directly impacts the air quality of your home. The air filter is made of fiberglass, which traps unwanted elements from the air. Not replacing your HVAC’s dirty filters will trap nasty particles in your system. This can cause complications like allergies, asthma, and headaches, including chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease for those who live in your home. Replacing your filters will dispose of the germs and grime trapped in them, allowing clean air to go through the filter.
A combination of high-quality air filters and an energy-efficient HVAC system will save you money and benefit the environment you are in. It will also extend the life of your HVAC unit, making it last for its entire life expectancy and lower repair frequency as it will prevent unnecessary damage to your unit. It will also help maintain correct temperatures and eliminate weird noise and foul odors.
3. Get Necessary Repairs Promptly
Apart from scheduling a furnace tune-up and changing your HVAC system filters for winter HVAC maintenance, you must prep the humidifier to replenish moisture typically missing from winter air. Usually, this part is installed in your HVAC system, which requires annual maintenance. However, ensure the water panel is changed atleast twice, usually before the heating season, to maximize efficiency come winter.
Other heating repairs you may need to perform during winter HVAC maintenance include winterizing the outdoor HVAC equipment by cleaning the unit’s exterior, removing debris stuck to the fins, and weeding out plants that have grown around it. You should also eliminate items stored against the unit, ensuring a two-foot clearance left on all sides of the HVAC. The HVAC unit humidifier’s water reservoir should be removed and cleaned by a professional to remove mineral scale buildup and microbes. As they do this, they’ll wipe down the exterior housing and the intake vent leading to the humidifier’s fan and inspect the drain line to ensure no leaks. Winter HVAC maintenance using best practices is essential for keeping your household warm with reliable heating equipment that will perform well during winter.
4. Have Great HVAC Contractors on Call
You need the help of pros for winter HVAC maintenance if you want to get the most out of your system. A professional and experienced HVAC contractor knows how to improve your HVAC’s efficiency. They’re highly trained and certified to identify problems you may not ordinarily see in your unit. They can help you with all your heating and cooling needs, from quality repair to proper HVAC sizing, installation, and maintenance. Therefore, instead of taking the DIY route, take advantage of the expertise and skills of a professional to work on your HVAC unit correctly, saving you the hustle and high costs of remedying a mistake.
Hiring a pro may seem like an additional expense to your budget, but without any clue or knowledge of winter HVAC maintenance or cleaning requirements, it can cost you a lot of dollars. Hiring a professional will save you lots of money. As a Cleveland homeowner, you’re likely to overestimate or underestimate an issue with your HVAC system and waste time, money, and energy on DIY fixes. This doesn’t give you a long-term solution compared to hiring a skilled contractor to provide quality workmanship for your comfort equipment.
You don’t just need an HVAC contractor; you need a seasoned one, as inexperienced technicians can cost you more in the long run by causing further damage to your unit. To avoid this, get a professional and reputable HVAC contractor near you to take care of your HVAC unit, as they can handle any cooling and heating repair service. Usually, they will get the job done based on a set of protocols, and you’ll be assured of quality service and safety.
They’ll ensure your unit is in good shape and clean, giving you excellent working conditions throughout the year. You can attribute this to the fact that they have the proper tools and experience to do the job quickly and efficiently without compromising work quality. They have extensive training and are well-versed in handling issues most efficiently. So whenever your system malfunctions, let the pros help you out. Having an HVAC contractor on call will ensure fast and reliable services.
5. Replace Drafty Windows
In Cleveland, the weather changes from cold and dry to hot and humid. These seasonal changes will affect your window’s structure and doors, especially if you have wooden windows or frames. Usually, they will contract in the cold and expand due to moisture, weakening the seels. If you start to feel drafts around your home, this is a clear sign of drafty windows and doors.
You will spend extra dollars on higher energy bills than usual if you don’t replace the drafty windows. Check for cracks, as most drafts penetrate through door cracks or windows. Ensure you don’t see any gap because if you do, it’s big enough to allow air to flow outside. Call a window contractor to replace your windows to eliminate any gaps. Also, check the air ducts during your winter HVAC maintenance to see if you will experience cold drafts coming through your vents.
6. Keep Up With General Home Maintenance
As you schedule winter HVAC maintenance, remember the rest of your home. How well your heating and cooling system works is significantly impacted by the condition of other components in your home, such as the roof. Think about it this way.
If you work on your HVAC, but your roof has gaps and is faulty, you’re not doing much because the conditioned air will escape through the roof. Have a professional roofer conduct a roof inspection to identify and address any underlying issues. You also want to ensure your water heaters are functioning properly.
Remember to ensure your outdoor unit is free of debris like dust, animal nests, and grass clippings. These can cause your HVAC to stop functioning effectively. When your HVAC system works harder, it will likely break down, leading to expensive repairs and replacements. You can use a garden hose to spray your outdoors often to get rid of dirt and debris. Ensure to check for nesting animals both inside and outside and avoid the temptation of DIY by calling a professional if you notice signs of vermin, wasps, or active bird nests.
7. Consider Installing a New Furnace
Furnaces are reliable and efficient and help to keep your home comfortable and warm. However, how well they do this largely depends on how well the installation is executed. You need a qualified HVAC contractor to install a furnace, as it is a complex process. Installing a new furnace will improve the overall efficiency of your HVAC system, and it will help you save a significant amount of money on monthly energy bills. This is because a newer high-efficiency model can have an AFUE rating of up to 98.5% compared to older furnaces, with a rating of as low as 56%.
The new heating installation will enhance comfort by providing consistent warm temperatures during the cold months. New furnaces have enhanced features, including two-stage heating and variable-speed blowers to improve comfort. Additionally, they improve the air quality and are quieter due to technological advances than older ones. They’re also low maintenance due to their durability and come with self-diagnostic features that make it easy to identify a problem. However, it’s important to note that if you skimp on furnace winter HVAC maintenance, you will not have the guarantee of a comfortable home through the winter season.
8. Protect Your HVAC System From the Snow
Although HVAC systems are made to withstand harsh weather, snow can still damage it. You must inspect the surrounding area, including limbs and tree branches, as they can significantly damage your outdoor HVAC unit during winter. This is because heavy snow that has built up on branches can break off and damage your unit. But you can avoid this by ensuring no low-hanging branches near your unit before winter.
Also, check for leaks from your gutters that may cause water to flow into your unit. You must prevent icicle damage, which forms along your roof’s eaves. Usually, they are melted by sunlight, and you need to ensure they don’t break off and fall into your HVAC unit as they could destroy the aluminum coils or cause other damages, which will cost you heavily. Ensure ice and snow buildup around your HVAC unit is cleared for optimal performance.
HVAC units are very expensive. They are certainly something you don’t want to have to buy again in the future. The last thing you want is to have to find HVAC companies since you need a new unit. Therefore, in these cold winter months, it’s better to stay proactive when it comes to your HVAC unit. It’s best to keep it clear as much as you can so you don’t need a replacement or major repair come Springtime. These units can withstand a lot, but pounds of snow will definitely take its toll on your unit over time. If you have any questions on how to keep your HVAC system properly maintained, be sure to reach out to a professional. They can point you in the right direction and give you tips on how to keep your unit from falling apart during the winter time. They’ll probably recommend keeping it as clear as possible. Water and electricity don’t mix very well! If you have any other questions on how to winterize your unit before it’s too late, make sure to give your local contractors a call today!
You also want to keep air intake vents clear. Consider installing a protective system around your HVAC, like heated louvers, a fence, or a block of wind-blown snow, including a wood awning above it to protect snow buildup and debris from falling on top of your unit. Ensure any material you use to cover your unit is breathable.
9. Look Into Modern HVAC Technology
There are modern technologies that have come up since the invention of the first electric furnace in the year 1861. They have immensely contributed to the growth of the HVAC industry, taking it from the days of burning wood to next-gen AI-based automated heating. Several types of HVAC innovations have come up, like the innovative smart thermostat, which allows you to schedule your air conditioner to turn on before you even get home.
Some innovations even let you operate and control your HVAC system using your mobile device without necessarily being at home. With smart controllers, programmable thermostats, and intelligent ACs, modern HVAC systems are convenient and save energy. Other HVAC technologies include ductless mini split and geothermal HVAC systems.
10. Prevent the Need for Emergency HVAC Services
You can avoid HVAC emergencies by understanding the causes, how to prevent them in the future, and what to do if an emergency arises. Some things that can call for emergency HVAC repairs include power outages, electrical failure, dirty filters, broken thermostats, blockages or leaks in pipes, and mechanical failures. You can prevent all these emergencies by having a professional conduct winter HVAC maintenance on time, including regular equipment checks for possible wear and tear. Remember to hire only a seasoned HVAC contractor, as they’ll diagnose problems quickly, use quality parts, and recommend the best upgrades for your system.
If you want your HVAC unit to work correctly through the cold months, ensure you contact a professional to schedule winter HVAC maintenance. Don’t wait until an issue arises on your unit. Have a reputable HVAC services provider on speed dial in case your HVAC needs urgent attention. Keep up with the latest technology, always replace your HVAC’s furnace and air filters, protect it from snow, and replace drafty windows. Get your contractor to assess your HVAC unit before winter and ask for tips on how to ensure it serves you during the whole winter season in Cleveland.