Preparing for Winter: Why Your HVAC Can’t Keep Up With the Cold

Preparing for winter often means buying a new jacket, double-checking your front door’s weather stripping, and searching the attic for decorations. However, you should also be sure to include HVAC maintenance to your list.

You can invest in regular heating and cooling maintenance to keep your home and household safe and warm. Fortunately, professional maintenance services are competitive. Regular maintenance helps to prevent costly repairs and replacements.

There are several tasks that you can easily accomplish on your own without assistance. Let’s go ahead and explore some of the best cold-weather preparation tasks, tips, and tricks to help you enjoy a cozy wintertime.

Winter Preparation Tips and Tricks

It’s vital to prepare your heater or furnace for cold weather. You’ll want to keep your home protected, even if you don’t live in any area that typically sees snowfall during the winter.

Homeowners that typically run their air conditioning throughout the year and only occasionally access their heating system are more likely to ignore heating issues. Unfortunately, a faulty heater can be dangerous and costly to repair or replace.

You can avoid many of the common pitfalls associated with heaters and heating systems by performing some simple maintenance tasks. After all, it’s always easier to maintain something than it is to repair or replace it.

To prepare your HVAC system for winter, you could decide to:

    • Turn Your Heater On and Off
    • Check the Circuit Breaker Box
    • Change or Clean Your Air Filters
    • Check Your Thermostat
    • Look for Blocked Registers
    • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Commit to Regular HVAC Maintenance

Let’s explore each of these tasks in greater detail. Doing so can help you keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape, helping you to avoid costly repairs further down the line. Besides, most of these tasks only require a few moments of your time.

Turn Your Heater On and Off

Though this trick is often applied to electronics, it’s also handy for a nonfunctional heater. If your heater isn’t working, the very first thing you should do is simply try turning it on and off again. If nothing happens, you may need to check your fuse box.

Another thing we see a lot is the power button to the heater or furnace has been switched off in the attic. This can happen by mistake when pulling down holiday decorations for example.

Check the Circuit Breaker Box

You may want to check your circuit breaker box for a tripped breaker if your heater isn’t working when you turn it on. If you do spot a tripped breaker, the best course of action may be hiring an HVAC technician who can diagnose the problem and rule out an equipment fault. That is, they can help you rule out electrical failures inside your HVAC system as a cause.

If you reset the breaker and it keeps tripping over and over, it may be an issue for an electrician to solve. This means there may be an electrical issue in your home that will require a licensed electrician’s attention for your safety.

Change or Clean Your Air Filters

Are you changing your air filters every three months or more often? If not, then your heating and cooling system is most likely not able to “breathe in” enough air, which can wear out parts and cause a breakdown. Not only that but a clogged system works doubly hard to keep homes cool or warm.

This puts an immense strain on an HVAC system and can cause unnecessary wear and tear, as well as elevated utility bills. To keep costs low and help prevent costly repairs and poor air quality, it’s important to clean or change your air filters.

Air filters are made of many different types of material, but they are essential to filtering out unwanted airborne pollutants. Over time, they can become soiled with dust, pollen and mold. Changing them is crucial to keep your home’s air clean.

Before changing your indoor air filters, there are a couple of things you should know. For example, not all filters are the same size. You’ll need to find the right size filter for best results. Here’s a step by step guide for to how to change your indoor air filters for a central air and heating system.

If you have a ductless mini-split HVAC system, you can generally clean those filters. Here’s how to clean air filters if you have a ductless mini-split hvac system.

Check Your Thermostat

If your heater suddenly stops working and your home’s electricity isn’t to blame, you may want to go take a look at your thermostat.

Many thermostats operate on batteries, and batteries do eventually run out of power. Should you find that your thermostat screen is blank or that the thermostat is responding very slowly to commands, you may simply need to replace its batteries.

Look for Blocked Registers

Vents, or registers, are often located on the ceilings and floors of a home. As such, they can become easily blocked by furniture, rugs, curtains and everyday objects. If you’ve placed a large piece of furniture over a register, you may not even know it’s there!

Blocked registers often cause HVAC systems to work harder. It cuts air flow so your system can’t take in or distribute enough air.  This is why the air temperature isn’t lowering or rising evenly throughout the home. Always check for blocked registers before moving on to more complicated solutions.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While performing DIY projects can provide a little boost in confidence and self-esteem, they can also be dangerous. It’s vital to always remain cautious when working with anything electrical, metal, or generally larger than you.

We always recommend testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for your safety. The newest heaters have many safety protections in place, but we see time and time again when these safety devices have been unplugged or disabled on a heater. Do not disable safety devices on your heater. There is a reason these safety devices exist.

A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide if your heater is malfunctioning before levels becomes life threatening. Many heaters that burn gas (also called gas-powered furnaces) produce carbon monoxide gas. When this gas doesn’t ventilate properly, it builds up leading to potentially fatal consequences.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is just one of the many reasons to have your gas furnace inspected each year by a licensed professional. Contacting an HVAC technician is the best way to prevent heater-related accidents and breakdowns.

Commit to Regular HVAC Maintenance

As we mentioned earlier, it’s always easier to maintain something than it is to replace or repair it. For example, if you stopped changing the oil in your car, it would eventually experience some pretty serious mechanical issues.

You might have to spend hundreds of dollars to repair a damaged part. Instead, you could have invested a smaller amount of money toward maintenance. Taking care of your heating and cooling system works in much the same way.

The more time, energy, and care that you invest in your home’s HVAC system, the more effective, hygienic, and affordable that system will become. Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. Professional heating services are only a call or click away, and purchasing a scheduled HVAC maintenance plan is another option to make these home maintenance tasks easier.

Preparing for Winter and Maintaining Your Heater

Preparing for winter doesn’t have to be a hassle. If you’ve maintained your heating system with simple DIY tasks, it will make the professional’s job easier. HVAC maintenance by a professional is crucial to preparing your home for the winter. It may not stay cold in the Houston area for long, but those cold snaps can be unpleasant if your heater is not working.

Luckily, you can perform several simple HVAC maintenance tasks without needing to buy expensive equipment or tools. Checking for blocked registers, changing air filters, turning your system on and off again are just a few examples.

Still, we recommend a heater tune-up or heater check each year in the fall to prepare for the winter chill and in the spring before the heat of summer. We can run your heater or furnace through its paces and check safety equipment before the cold weather arrives.

Best of all, we give our customers a copy of our multi-point checklist and keep it on file, so we can get to know your HVAC system. And, if you need a repair, we can help you there, too. Contact us today at 281-495-7830 to learn more about AC and heating maintenance services in your area!  Our family-owned business Terry’s A/C & Heating located in Richmond, Texas, aims to keep you comfortable no matter what time of year.