Even here in sunny San Jose, we sometimes get chilly weather and frosts. And, hey, it's even been known (very rarely, admittedly) to snow. So when the temperatures plunge, it's good to know you've got a reliable furnace, heat pump or other type of heating system to keep you warm.
Of course, as your HVAC ages, wear and tear on parts may cause the occasional breakdown, but the best way to ensure that doesn't happen when you need it most is to practice good maintenance habits -- among them, winterizing your HVAC.
Here are some tips on what to do before the season changes and you're having to turn up the heat:
PUT THE AIR CONDITIONER TO BED
We're not going to say it might not be warm enough to turn the air conditioner back on during the winter, but if you're fairly certain you won't be using it, take a few steps to "put it to bed." Clean up around the outdoor condenser unit, trimming grass and weeds, raking up leaves and clearing debris. Also trim limbs and branches that might damage the unit if they were to break in a storm.
If you're concerned about debris or dirt blowing into the unit, wrap it with a vinyl cover, but make sure it's not airtight. Be aware that rodents and vermin may be attracted to covered HVAC units as winter nesting places.
CHANGE OF SEASONS? CHANGE THE FILTER
A clean filter is your best bet for ensuring your heating system runs efficiently throughout the winter, and that chances of breaking down are minimized. So keep the filter changed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
SCHEDULE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
Call your HVAC technician to check out your heating system before fall arrives. You'll want him to look at the controls, thermostat, electric connections, condensate drain and blower, and to measure motor voltage and current. Gas lines, burners and heat exchanger should also be inspected.
For more on winterizing your HVAC or other in-depth information on most HVAC topics, visit the Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical website, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).