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There’s nothing worse than dealing with a faulty heating system during a cold week in winter. By being proactive with your fall HVAC maintenance, you can save yourself some trouble and give yourself the gift of a cozy, problem-free winter.

Use this checklist to get your home ready for cooler weather.

  • Change your furnace air filter.

One of the most important parts of HVAC maintenance is replacing your air filters. Dirty filters make your HVAC system less efficient, leading to higher energy bills and excess strain on the system.

To get the most out of your air filters, consider replacing older filters with high-efficiency pleated ones. Many newer filters have electrostatic charges in the pleats that trap particles, making them far more effective at preventing dust, pollen, and other contaminants from passing through.

  • Clear dust and debris from any outdoor HVAC units.

If you have an outdoor HVAC unit, you should try to keep it free of debris. During the fall, you may need to clear the unit off every week or so to prevent leaves, dirt, sticks, and other debris from interfering with your heating system. Try to keep at least two feet of space around your outdoor units clear.

  • Clean your HVAC registers and ducts.

Again, keeping your HVAC system clean will help you keep your system fully functional and efficient. It’s a good idea to wipe down your registers as part of your regular cleaning routine, especially in the fall and winter when you are likely using your heating system the most.

  • Move any combustible products away from your furnace.

While it may sound obvious, it’s important to clear anything combustible away from your heating system before you turn on the heat each year. Ideally, your storage space for combustible household supplies should be well away from any heating appliances, including furnaces, stoves, ovens, and chimneys.

  • Change the water panel of your home humidifier.

Your humidifier water panel should be changed at least once per season, especially during the colder months. For best performance, you should change the water panel at the beginning of fall so your humidifier is ready to go when it’s time to use it.

  • Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector.

Carbon monoxide detectors should have batteries replaced annually to protect everyone in your home from undetected exposure. While you don’t necessarily have to do this in the fall, it’s a good idea to add it to your fall HVAC maintenance checklist with your other home upkeep tasks to ensure it is working properly when you turn your furnace back on.

  • Inspect any rooftop units or vents.

If you have any vents or HVAC equipment on your roof, take time to remove any leaves or debris that accumulate in the fall. This simple step will substantially reduce the burden on your HVAC system.

  • Take care of any home insulation issues.

Have you noticed unusually high energy bills, chilly drafts, or different temperatures throughout your home? These are signs that you may need better insulation. It’s best to take care of any insulation issues in the fall so you can keep your home comfortable during the coldest months with minimal energy waste.

If you are already doing insulation work, consider upgrading to more efficient materials while you’re at it. Newer insulation materials typically do a better job than the older insulation that may have been in place when you bought your home.

  • Clear your outside vents and chimneys.

This is important not only for the vents for your HVAC vents, but for all vents, flues, or chimneys. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of the 52,000 heating-related residential fires that occur each year is a failure to clean equipment, especially chimneys.

  • Turn on your furnace and listen for unusual noises.

Odd noises are a sign that something is wrong with your heating system. Often, these noises are caused by register blockages or loose bolts on the furnace. Sometimes you can identify the problem yourself, but if you can’t find the source, you should check with an HVAC professional.

While you may be reluctant to turn on your heat this early in the season, it’s better to check for HVAC problems now rather than finding out that there’s a problem later and shivering through cold weather while you wait for a technician.

  • Check your boiler for leaks.

Boilers occasionally leak due to corrosion, pressure issues, improper installation, damaged seals, or age. If you see any water leaking out around your boiler, you should call an HVAC professional now for service. While you wait for a technician, it’s a good idea to prevent further damage and leakage by disabling the boiler’s water and power supply.

  • Test your thermostat.

Sometimes, temperature control issues are caused by a faulty thermostat. If you have a smart thermostat, you can usually check it by running a system test using the instructions that were included when you bought it.

To test a standard thermostat, enlist a family member or friend to stand by the furnace as you slowly turn the thermostat from off to a higher temperature. Both the thermostat and the furnace should make a sound. If your thermostat stays quiet, you may need to replace the batteries, clean the inside, or reach out to an HVAC professional for repair. If only the furnace stays silent, you most likely have a furnace issue.

  • Get annual HVAC maintenance done by a professional.

Many HVAC manufacturers require annual preventative maintenance to maintain the unit’s warranty. Even if the manufacturer does not require maintenance, it’s a good idea to hire a qualified technician every year to check for problems, adjust loose bolts, do a combustion efficiency test, and address any other issues you may have.

If you live near Everett, WA and need HVAC maintenance or furnace repair, call Paragon today at (425) 320-1276 for service. We have a tradition of high-quality workmanship and excellence in serving homeowners throughout Snohomish and East King County.