Preparing for Winter
If you have lived in North Carolina for more than 2 years, you know that every season can be unpredictable. This holds especially true for the greater Raleigh area. We are sometimes shielded from the cold by the western mountains. We have the coast to bring us moisture from the Gulf and the Atlantic.
Sometimes the mountains let the cold through and sometimes the pressure moves the moisture further north. It can be fairly unpredictable. One this is for sure, though. Winter will be coming and when it does, it comes with fury.
To be sure your HVAC system is running properly this winter, here are 5 things you can check.
1) Check Exhaust Vents
If you have a gas furnace, find where your exhaust vents to the outside. If there is soot built up around the vent or if you smell a foul odor there could be a problem. The heat exchanger may be cracked leaking dangerous carbon monoxide. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and vomiting.
When someone is exposed to carbon monoxide, it is strongly advised to get fresh air immediately and to seek medical attention.
The heat exchanger should be inspected before each heating season to avoid further damages or personal harm.
2) Clean Around Outdoor Unit
If you want your HVAC system to run harder with less results, then allow mulch, leaves, sticks, and dirt to collect around the base of the outdoor unit. Of course, if you want it running better, then clean it up!
Fall is just about over and the leaves are carpeting the ground. Over the summer, you probably cut your grass often. Are you laying down mulch for the spring? All of these can get stuck underneath the outside unit causing it to strain.
These obstructions can also prevent proper drainage. When the system is in de-frost mode, the moisture must escape. If a blockage occurs, this could easily lead to system malfunctions and breakdowns.
3) Change Your Filter
This might be a given for some of you, but you would be surprised how often the filter is neglected. As a general rule, the filter should be replaced every month. Visually inspecting the filter every couple of weeks will not only remind you to change the filter, but also to let you see if it should be changed sooner.
An older filter can cause improper airflow. Restricted air causes the internal components of your HVAC system to work harder leading to excessive wear and part failure.
If you need a reminder to check your filter, make it a habit to change it every time you get your power bill in the mail.
4) Clear Supply Vents
If you have children running around your home, then you probably have stray toys lying around. Remove any toys or other obstructions like furniture and books from the supply vents.
Failing to keep the vents clear can result in hot spots and cold spots in the house. The thermostat will not be able to give an accurate account of the house wide temperature increasing both the amount of hot air being pushed into single rooms and the cost of heating your home during the winter. Best vacuum pumps