The Ultimate Guide for Homeowners: Creating an HVAC Checklist for Fall Maintenance

As the autumn months approach, it’s a good time to check on your home’s HVAC system.

With the right care and proper maintenance, you can ensure that your home stays comfortable and warm as the temperatures start to drop.

Read on for a helpful HVAC checklist to help you make sure that your system is running smoothly.

Check and Change Your Air Filter

When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system, the air filter is one of the most important things to keep in mind. A dirty or clogged air filter can cause your system to work too hard, resulting in a serious malfunction that could cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

Ideally, your air filter should be changed once a month, however, some filters have the option of changing them every 60 to 90 days. Consider purchasing a better filter with a pleated design. These filters have an electrostatic charge that operates like a magnet to grab onto tiny particles and trap them before they get into the air.

Make sure your filter has a high MERV rating to ensure the best filtration. This rating system determines how many types of particles the filter traps before it reaches the air in your home.

Take a close look at your filter and if it’s dirty, now is the time to change it. Set a reminder so you always know when it’s time to swap your filter with a new one. Pet owners may need to change the filter more frequently.

HVAC Checklist: Maintain Your Outdoor Unit

If you have an outdoor heat pump, now is the time to give it a look. Over the summer, debris like pollen, twigs, and leaves can start to accumulate on the top and sides of your outdoor unit. 

Gently sweep debris away and make sure there is nothing blocking your outdoor heat pump. If you only have an outdoor air conditioning unit, fall is a good time to add a protective cover until it’s ready to be turned on again.

Autumn is also a good time to make sure that your outdoor unit is level. All HVAC outdoor units should be placed on a concrete pad or on firm, level ground.

Now is also a great time of year to check your unit’s condensate pump to make sure it’s free from blockages. The best condensate pump should have a sensor that alerts you if it needs attention, but it’s still wise to give it a quick visual check to be sure.

Test the Thermostat

As outdoor temperatures start to plummet, it’s important to make sure that the inside of your home is warm and toasty. A malfunctioning thermostat can cause all kinds of problems when you’re trying to keep your home warm during the fall and winter months.

Part of your HVAC checklist should include a quick check of your thermostat. Most smart thermostats can be checked by running a system test. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start the test.

For standard thermostats, have someone in the household stand by the furnace as you slowly turn the unit from the off position to a higher temperature. Your furnace should make a sound, and the thermostat should also make a slight noise.

If there is no sound coming from either unit, it might be time to replace the batteries in your thermostat. You may also need to clean the inside and make sure that the contacts are free of dust and debris. 

If the furnace doesn’t make a noise when you turn it on, there could be an issue with the unit. Contact a qualified HVAC technician to come and take a closer look before autumn and winter arrive.

Clean the Furnace Area

During the spring and summer, you may use the furnace area as a place for extra storage. It’s critical that you clear this area before you use the furnace to prevent a potential fire.

Get rid of anything that’s combustible that may be near your home’s heating system before you turn it on. Whether it’s a can of paint, cleaning chemicals, or anything that could catch fire, it’s important to store in a separate, safe place.

Combustible household items should be kept away from your furnace, but they should also be kept away from other appliances, too. Go ahead and check around your stove, oven, and chimney to be sure that these potentially dangerous items are safely put away.

If you have a carbon monoxide detector, fall is a good time to test it out and confirm that it’s working properly. This is particularly important if you have gas-powered heat.

Many smoke detectors have a built-in carbon monoxide detector so you can check both at the same time. Replace the batteries in every unit with a fresh battery so they continue to work all fall and winter long.

Take Care of Your HVAC System

When it comes to a healthy and happy home, a simple HVAC checklist can keep everyone warm and comfortable. This fall, make sure you change the air filter, check your thermostat, and clean the outside unit to keep things running smoothly.

If you’re ever in doubt about the status of your furnace, it’s best to contact a local professional that can inspect your system and make recommendations for a warm, safe home.

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