While the fall season in a place like Salt Lake City can be fickle and often short, it’s also a very important one for home and building owners. It’s a vital transitional time for certain home HVAC components, for instance, particularly the transition from summer use of the air conditioner to winter use of the furnace or another heating element.
At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to offer a wide range of services to help transition your home from summer through into fall and on to winter, from furnace maintenance and tune-ups through smart thermostat installation and numerous other areas. What are some of the top themes you should be attending to for your heating and air system this fall, whether on your own or with assistance from our HVAC technicians? Here’s a basic primer.
Summer Cleanup Themes
First and foremost, it’s worthwhile to take a couple steps to clean up or otherwise organize your system after what’s been a stressful summer. Some concepts here include:
- Clean outdoor AC compressor unit: The compressor unit on your AC unit sits outside, so this area can get dirty quickly. As leaves fall or insects fly around, they have a tendency to land here and will create bigger problems if not addressed immediately.
- Protect outdoor AC unit: Down related lines, either covering or otherwise protecting your outdoor AC unit can be a great way to get through the fall and on to the winter months. This “blanket” of sorts helps you maintain a consistent temperature in your home, regardless of what weather is going on outside.
- Remove window AC units: If you’ve had window-based AC units installed, it’s time to remove them when fall begins or when you start seeing a consistent dip in the weather. This is particularly true if you’ve been cooling things down through central air, which can make it much easier for your home to get warmer when the weather starts changing again next spring!
- Seal windows and openings: During the long summer, minor cracks or gaps in your home may develop, typically through things like windows and doors. These can lead to serious heat loss when winter comes around, so it’s important to close them up with insulation, caulk or another effective sealant before the temperature starts dropping.
Air filters are vital throughout the year, including during fall. They should be replaced regularly, in good working order and should be cleaned every few months to maximize their thermal performance. When fall rolls around, if you haven’t bought new ones for the winter yet, this is a great time to do so.
The fall is often an ideal time to look into an inspection of your air ducts, from both a safety and from a performance perspective. While some do it themselves, the concept of air duct cleaning has become so popular in recent years that more people are looking to hire out these tasks.
If any gaps or leaks are found in your air ducts during this inspection, you’ll need to address them immediately, ideally with professional help. Sealing these gaps can improve your air efficiency in major ways, especially once the dead of winter arrives and you’re trying to keep your indoor environment as warm as possible.
Fall is also a transitional time for your thermostat, a period where many homeowners will re-program it for the coming winter, changing their settings dramatically to maximize heating and minimize cooling. If you haven’t done this yet, consider taking the time in September or October to get your system ready before the cold weather starts setting in.
In other cases, fall might be an opportune time to consider upgrading your thermostat. If your home is still using an older manual thermostat, for instance, you could be suffering from huge energy losses due to your system’s inefficiency. Instead of waiting for this problem to compound, consider investing in a smart thermostat installation today! These high-tech systems can pay for themselves quickly and help you save money on an ongoing basis while also saving the environment at the same time. Call our team about smart thermostat installation options if you’re interested — you might be surprised at how affordable this initial investment is, allowing you to quickly recoup it in the form of monthly energy savings.
Test the System
The last thing you want is to find yourself in one of those cold early December Salt Lake City nights — with a heating system that isn’t up to the job. A simple way of avoiding this is by testing your system in advance, ideally starting in mid to late October and continuing through early November. This is a great way to make sure the furnace you’re using (if you have one), as well as other heating elements like your fireplace or electric heaters, are all up for the challenge of keeping you warm and cozy on those long winter nights.
Professional HVAC Tune-Up
Finally, both for the items above and others we haven’t listed here, there’s immense value in arranging a fall HVAC tune-up for your entire system. Our team performs these tasks throughout the year, but it’s a great idea to consider scheduling one before the colder weather hits.
Not only will this ensure your system is working correctly and ready for wintertime use, it can also help you identify any small problems that might be developing in your walls or other locations around the home. These seemingly minor issues can grow quickly as the temperature drops, lessening the efficiency of your entire system and making it more likely that you’ll find yourself in a cold spot.
For more on fall HVAC preparation, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the team at My Buddy the Plumber today.