If you live in an area with hot summers and cold winters, you probably make use of your HVAC system year-round. As the days start getting shorter and cooler, it’s time to transition from AC to heating.
For the transition from summer to winter to go as smoothly as possible, you should take some steps to maintain your heating system. Here are nine tips for switching from air conditioning to heating:
1. Use your ceiling fans.
As temperatures decrease during late summer or early fall, you may not need to use your AC so frequently. On days that aren’t too hot, open your windows and make use of your ceiling fans instead of turning on your air conditioner. When you’re away from home, shut your curtains and blinds to prevent the sun from heating your home up too much. This can save you some money and lengthen the lifespan of your AC.
2. Take care of your outdoor AC unit.
Before snow, wind, or cold weather starts to pick up, take some time to perform maintenance on your outdoor AC unit. Clear away any shrubs or bushes near the unit, so the AC is surrounded by about a foot of clear space on each side. It’s important to cover up the unit, too. Falling icicles or broken tree limbs can cause serious damage to an AC unit. Make sure the cover is on as tight as possible and leaves no gaps.
3. Turn on your furnace early to test it.
You’ll want to make sure your furnace is in good working condition before your house becomes freezing cold. This will give you time to make any necessary repairs before you need the heat. It’s normal to smell a mild dusty odor when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the season, but if the smell persists for more than a couple hours, there may be an issue. If you smell burning rubber, sulfur, melted plastic, or burning metal, turn the system off immediately and have it inspected by a professional.
4. Change all the filters.
Routine maintenance on your furnace and air conditioner is essential. The transition from AC to heating is a great time to change the air filters for your heating and cooling units. You should change your furnace filter every month or two during winter, and you should change your AC filter at the beginning and end of the summer.
5. Clean the vents.
After months with no use, the vents in your heating system may need to be cleaned. Dirty vents can reduce the efficiency of your heating system, and they may increase the concentration of dust, mold, and allergens in the air.
6. Set up your humidifiers.
Colder weather usually brings drier weather, and people need higher temperatures to feel comfortable in dry air. If you set up your humidifier as the temperatures decrease, you’ll be able to set your thermostat lower while still feeling warm. This will also prevent dry skin and sinus irritation.
7. Check your thermostat.
Before the temperature drops too much, make sure your thermostat is working properly. If something is wrong with the display, you may need a new battery. If your home has a programmable thermostat, experiment with a few different settings to make sure it’s accurate. This will also help you find which temperature setting works best for your home.
8. Make sure your doors and windows are sealed.
Heat can escape through cracks or gaps in your doors or windows. As winter approaches, check all of your doors and windows. You can hold a candle or lighter around a doorframe or window frame to determine whether it needs extra insulation. If the flame flickers, you should add some extra sealing.
9. Have professional maintenance.
If it’s been a year or two since you last had maintenance on your heating and cooling systems, consider hiring a professional to inspect them. This could make you aware of problems with the systems that decrease efficiency, and solving these issues will cut your energy use and help you save money.