A Fall Game Plan:
HVAC and Plumbing Tips for Your Home
Leaves are changing; there’s a chill in the air; and football season is going strong. Fall is here, and the winter forecast is looking especially frigid this year. A little preventative winterizing now will help keep you cozy and safe through next season … and avoid potential hassles once the thermostat really drops!
- Have an annual service agreement? Time to schedule your fall inspection. This should be scheduled before you turn on your furnace for the first time. Plus, it’s ideal if you can turn your furnace on while it’s still fairly warm outside so that you can open the windows and let that “first time smell” quickly dissipate!
- Don’t forget to also have your humidifier serviced for the winter, if one is installed on your system.
- Make sure no flammable items are stored near the furnace.
- Change or clean your air filter … and continue to do so at least every three months.
- Winterize your air conditioner. Remove any dust and dirt and clear any leaves, twigs, or branches around the compressor.
- Set your thermostat to maintain a minimum temperature in the event of an unexpected cold snap … especially if you are leaving your house for a few days. Otherwise, you risk burst pipes (one of the most expensive repairs!). Also, during extreme cold periods or power outages, opening cabinet doors under your sinks can help keep pipes from freezing.
- Fall is also a good time to consider having your duct system cleaned as well; this can remove hidden dust and dirt and improve performance.
Winter temperatures can freeze the water that is trapped in the outside faucets and pipe connections. Sometimes, this can damage the faucet or cause the pipes to burst in the wall. To avoid this:
- Disconnect your garden hoses from outside faucets and drain them.
- If possible, turn off the water supply to outside faucets and then drain the piping. Otherwise, install insulated covers on outside faucets for some protection against freezing.
- Insulate pipes in all unheated areas inside your home as well (crawlspaces, attics, pipes near outside walls, etc.). In areas that are likely to be below freezing, consider having a heat tape added to the line before insulating.
While these maintenance tips are fairly easy (and much easier than dealing with a major repair!), never try to service your heating system on your own. To increase your home’s efficiency, safeguard against potential problems, and give you peace of mind, be sure to contact your local licensed plumbing-heating-cooling professional.
For more information on how to hire a professional contractor, click on PHCC’s Find a Contractor referral service. Or, call our toll-free number, 800-533-7694.