Holiday HVAC Tips
Essential Holiday HVAC Tips To Keep In Mind
During the holidays, your regular to-do list fills up with family get-togethers, shopping trips, and mini-vacations. Often, vital household responsibilities can accidentally fall by the wayside. Don’t let your busy schedule impact your indoor comfort this holiday season. Make sure your loved ones and guests are warm and comfortable in your home, no matter how cold it is outside. Here are a few helpful HVAC tips to get you through the upcoming holidays.
1. Replace Your Air Filter
The primary purpose of your air filters is to protect your HVAC system from dust and debris. When your filters fill up, they allow more particulates to enter your furnace. They can also impede healthy airflow in the system, making it harder to produce warm air. A dirty, overused filter could leave your guests sneezing, coughing, and feeling uncomfortable.
Most experts recommend switching out air filters every one to three months. If you live in a home with pets, your filters will fill up faster. Consider investing in pleated options that last longer and can more easily remove smaller contaminants.
2. Seal Window Gaps
Drafty windows and doors can quickly skyrocket your energy costs during the winter. These gaps allow your precious heated air to escape, wasting your money and comfort. If your home isn’t efficiently heating up, your furnace can short cycle or run for an abnormally long time.
Changes in your furnace’s cycles have a huge impact on your system’s efficiency. The more your system strains to produce heat, the more wear and tear it will endure. Protect your temperature control by correcting leaky windows and doors with sealants. You can also utilize draft stoppers, thick rugs, and thermal curtains wherever possible.
3. Program Your Thermostat
Your daily schedule is likely to change dramatically when the holidays roll around. You may be in the home more often than usual, increasing your need for heat. There may also be more people around, making it necessary to heat rooms that you usually don’t. Attempting to keep track of your settings can be complicated and confusing.
Instead of remembering to change your thermostat every day, make full use of its programmable features. Most modern thermostats allow you to set your temperature needs for certain times of the day or week. Some smart devices even give you access to your settings while in bed or out of the home running errands.
4. Switch Ceiling Fan Settings
Don’t underestimate how valuable your ceiling fans could be to your temperature control. Hot air always rises, which often explains why the upstairs is much warmer than the downstairs during the winter. Rather than having all that valuable heat go straight up, you can use your fan to disperse it evenly in your home.
You should see a small switch right on the base of your fan below the blades. Set this switch so that the fan is spinning clockwise. During the summer, you can switch it the other way to force heat up and away from you. Using your fan can lower your energy costs and keep air moving in your home.
5. Cover Your Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit
With the summer in the rearview, you’ve likely turned your full focus to maintaining your furnace. However, your external air conditioning unit still needs preventative care to protect it from the coming weather changes. Take the time to clear away any nearby debris, foliage, underbrush, or twigs. These objects can bang against your unit during harsh winter winds.
Brush off the external cover and rinse it down with your hose. It’s best to call for a quick tune-up to minimize the spread of any new system damage. After cleaning and maintaining your air conditioner, consider grabbing a ventilated AC unit cover to prevent moisture damage or pest issues.
6. Check Smoke Detectors
The holidays often come with long days of cooking, eating, and celebrating. You’re likely to be constantly using your gas furnace and stove. Your home needs at least one fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every floor. Consider installing more of these devices near your furnace, in your kitchen, and outside your bedrooms.
These detectors should be checked weekly to ensure they’re still working as intended. If your devices use batteries, be sure to switch them out every six months. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are vital to protecting your family’s well-being and your property throughout the year.
7. Monitor Vents and Registers
The more people in your home, the easier it is for accidents to occur. Suitcases may be accidentally placed over a vital air vent, or a couch might be moved over to make room for an inflatable bed. A misplaced dresser or rug could drop the temperature in the room by several degrees.
Make it a habit at least once daily during your busiest weeks to check that every vent in your home is unobstructed. Watch for any hot or cold spots or strange temperature inconsistencies. Along with making your home uncomfortable, a closed vent could increase harmful static pressure in your HVAC system. This pressure makes it harder for your furnace to distribute warm air evenly.
8. Closely Monitor All Space Heater Use
It’s possible a few of your extended family members may be a little more susceptible to the cold. You may be inclined to use space heaters to add warmth to those distant guest rooms. While these heaters are a great way to complement your furnace, they should be monitored regularly to prevent fire hazards.
Be sure there are at least three feet of clearance around the entire heater at all times. Never leave these devices unattended when operating, including when you’re sleeping. Never use them to warm your blankets or dry your clothes. When you’re not using your space heater, unplug it from the wall and store it away from children and pets.
9. Schedule HVAC Maintenance
Minimize your chances of running into a heating emergency by scheduling HVAC maintenance before the holiday season begins. Heating and cooling systems should be inspected every spring and fall. Doing this helps to minimize damages and regular wear and tear. It also improves the system’s efficiency, keeping your monthly utility costs low.
Older systems are particularly susceptible to short cycling and sudden system shutdowns. Don’t risk leaving your family cold and uncomfortable during the holidays! A professional tune-up gives you assurance that your heating system will last another winter.
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