In Northwest Florida, our HVAC systems work hard to keep up with the sweltering summer weather. This is why most homeowners prioritize getting their air conditioners checked before the summer heat. This means it’s easier to forget about your preventative maintenance for the winter months. However, temperatures during our cool months can dip surprisingly low, so it’s important to maintain your heater before you have to rely on it during our first cold snap. It is important to know that “winter” maintenance doesn’t actually mean you should wait until the weather gets cold to do it. You want to do it in the fall, around October so that when the temperature drops to the 30’s suddenly the day after a 80-degree day, you will be prepared and not be calling for emergency service.
Your Florida Winter HVAC Maintenance Checklist:
Check Your Furnace Filter
Depending on your home’s air quality, whether you have pets, and if you have allergies or lung conditions, you’ll need to replace the filter anywhere from every 45 days to every 3 months.
You will want a medium- to high-efficiency filter with a good MERV rating, but not to high if its not needed as it can restrict airflow.
Clean Your Outside Unit
With fall leaves coming down and building up in your yard, your external unit may have gathered debris around it. Sweep this away, cut back any nearby bushes, and rinse the unit off with a hose.
Clean Your Internal Unit
Poke your head under the unit and inspect your heating elements for any signs of wear, and clear off any dust that has built up on it. Clear your drain lines by pouring a bit or bleach combined with hot water down the drain lines. Make sure fans or blowers move without issue.
Check Your Unit Electronics
Now is the time to change any batteries in your thermostat, and to update the programming to make sure it still meets your family’s needs. If you have an efficiency schedule set for AC then now set one for heating. Also, check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors.
Add Extra Insulation If Needed
To prevent any frozen wires and fluid in the pipes of your system, add any necessary insulation around the pipes that are running outside of your home.
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start preparing your HVAC system for the coming cold weather. This HVAC maintenance checklist is a great place to start, if you would prefer to have a professional handle it we take calls 24/7. Let Air Design, prepare you for the colder months to come.
Whether winter lasts for several months like our friends out in the north, or just a mild month or two here in northwest Florida, our homes need to be equipped for winter heating for us to be comfortable. We want everyone to be safe this winter so here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe.
1. Space Heaters
They’re so small and efficient, as soon as you turn it on, you feel some instant relief. However, with effectiveness that strong, they also come with a few hazards.
The first thing to pay attention to about a space heater is its location. You will want to make sure there are three feet of space on every side of the heater. Anything that could potentially go up in flames may do just that. Never place a space heater on the carpet. You also want to purchase the ones with the tilt shut off. Meaning if it falls over or gets knocked over it will shut off automatically to prevent catching fire.
2. Open Ovens
Some people like to heat up their oven and leave it open to warm the house. While this seems like a great theoretical idea it’s a bad practice. First, it’s highly inefficient. It may heat the surrounding area in your kitchen, but it won’t be able to heat your entire home. Also, it poses another safety risk to children or pets who may be passing by and get burned on it.
If you do this regularly and your gas flame isn’t working correctly, you could be leaking and causing carbon monoxide poisoning to you and others in your home.
Candles are not specific to winter but no matter what time of year it is there are rules to follow when burning a candle. Let’s start with one of the lesser-known hazards. If you’re not buying candles made with natural products, then you could be breathing countless harmful chemicals into your lungs? Consider beeswax candles or ones scented with essential oils and not factory scents. There are also hazards that are akin to space heaters. You never want to place your candles near paper, curtains, or blankets. This could instantly start a fire and get out of hand very quickly. You also don’t want to position them in places where they can easily be knocked over.
4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk
The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 50,000 people succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the US. Unfortunately, the winter months are the biggest culprits because home heating systems can run for hours at a time. The best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a detector in your home similar to a smoke alarm. Also, Getting your heating system serviced by a qualified professional will prevent leaks from happening.
You will also want to check for blockages in your vents that could prevent proper air flow.
5. Fireplace Fires
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, Nothing beats the ambiance it creates and the winter heater temp it sets. However, you have to be very careful to handle it with care and maintain it well. You will want to clean out all the burned ashes after each usage and place them in a metal container at least ten feet away from the house. You will also want to have a screen standing in front of the fire to prevent any ongoing ashes from jumping out and possible setting your rub or curtains on fire. This is also the time to make sure your chimney is in order.
We care about your safety. In Florida, we have a huge range of heating needs and Air Design is here for homeowners throughout the Pensacola area. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to improve your unit’s performance. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.