Before you know it, the temperatures will start to go down, and the fall season will be in full swing. After months of triple digit temperatures and plenty of AC, many Arizonans welcome fall with open arms. But, it’s important to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the challenge of changing temperatures. Here are 4 ways you can make sure your HVAC system is ready for fall.
1. Change your filters
A new season is a great time for new air filters. As the first line of defense that protects your HVAC system (and your home) from dust, dirt, debris, and bacteria, air filters need to be changed every 30 to 90 days. Since your air conditioner has probably been working overtime to counter the summer heat, your filters are likely very dusty if they haven’t been changed recently.
Along with negatively impacting air quality, dirty air filters can also reduce system efficiency. In fact, dirty filters can increase your system’s energy consumption by anywhere from 5 to 15%. More energy consumption means higher monthly bills. So, save yourself money and energy by replacing your air filters in time for the fall season.
When purchasing and installing new air filters, make sure your new filters fit the following guidelines:
Quality and MERV ratings
Not all air filters are created equal. Air filters are categorized by something called MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. A filter with a lower rating won’t be as good at filtering out particles as a filter with a higher rating.
- MERV 1-4: Removes dust mites, pollen, and carpet fibers
- MERV 5-8: Removes pet dander, cleaning sprays, and mold spores
- MERV 9-12: Removes lead dust and auto emissions
- MERV 13-16: Removes smoke, some bacteria, and sneeze droplets
- MERV 16-20: Removes some viruses and all forms of smoke
Filters rated 16 or higher are known as HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air, filters. They provide the most protection against airborne pollutants both big and small. If you or someone in your home experiences allergies or asthma, upgrading to a HEPA filter might help.
Fit and size
If your filters don’t fit correctly, they won’t be able to stop all the dust and contaminants. On the side of your current filters, you’ll see its size printed. The size is expressed as length x width x height. For example, your filters could be 14 x 20 x 1. If the size isn’t legible, or isn’t printed on the old filter, you can find the size by measuring the length, width, and height of the filter cabinet.
2. Seal air leaks and drafts
Air leaks are a common source of home energy inefficiencies. During the cooler months, air leaks and drafts can allow warm air to escape through cracks around your windows and doors. These cracks also make it easy for cold air to enter your home, driving down the temperature and making your HVAC system work harder. You can fix both problems by sealing air leaks and drafty spots throughout the home.
Replacing weather stripping is an easy way to fix leaks and drafts. If you’re not sure where your home’s drafty spots are, try holding a piece of paper up to the frame of your windows and doors. If the paper begins to move, there’s air coming through that needs to be sealed.
3. Add insulation
It’s suggested by many HVAC installation experts in Phoenix that having good insulation throughout your home is the best way to keep your home comfortable. When you have good insulation in your attic or crawl space, it reduces temperature swings. This also helps extend the life of your HVAC unit, as these systems don’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable and consistent temperature. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but even adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself within a few years.
4. Schedule HVAC Maintenance
Before the heating season starts, it’s a good idea to schedule HVAC maintenance to make sure your heating system is ready for the winter. Fall is the best time to schedule one of your two annual maintenance visits, because it gives you the opportunity to have small problems fixed before you need to rely on your heater. Our 33-point inspection includes critical system checks including:
- Replace or clean air filters
- Check thermostat operation
- Check ductwork and static pressure
- Inspect fuses
- Tighten electrical connections
- Oil and check blower motor
- Inspect indoor coil for buildup
- Check access valves for leaks
- Check refrigerant
- Oil and check outdoor fan motor
- And several other individual inspections
And although heating bills in Arizona certainly aren’t as astronomical as they are in other parts of the country, a maintenance check will help ensure your heater is running at a maximum level of efficiency.
During a routine maintenance check, an HVAC check will clean out your system as well as check for any damaged parts. Once this is done, the unit won’t have to work as hard to heat your home, and you won’t be wasting energy or money.
Hays Heating Maintenance Agreements
Just like buying a new car, keeping on top of your routine maintenance for any new HVAC system is critical to longevity and protecting your investment. We proudly service many leading HVAC brands to make sure your heater is ready to keep your home warm all season long. With a maintenance agreement, you can breathe easy knowing that our maintenance program will help you save money in the long run by keeping your system in good working order.
Let Hays be Your Heating Experts
If you are in need of a heater replacement, maintenance repair, or if you need a new heating unit professionally installed inside a new home, contact us today to learn how the heating professionals at Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing can offer you a dependable maintenance solution that will exceed your expectations.