Getting your home ready for winter is no small task - even if you don’t live in the North Pole. In fact, it is equally important to prep all components of your HVAC system (both your heater and your air conditioner). Just like seasonal maintenance, completing your winter HVAC checklist can save energy and money, and avoid costly repairs in the future.
A Guide to Preparing Your Heater for Winter
Texas doesn’t get that cold, but you still need to get your furnace ready for the winter months. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your unit is ready to keep your home warm and comfortable when the temperatures start to drop. Additionally, prepping your heater can help it remain as energy-efficient as possible - not to mention safe.
Winter checklist for heaters:
- Change the filter. Typically, you should change your heater’s filter every three months. If you didn’t change your heater’s filter in the spring, make sure to do so before you need it in the winter.
- Buy additional backup filters. If you’ll be needing to run your heater for more than three months, buy replacements in the fall so you can easily swap them out during the coldest months of the year.
- Clean the space around your heater. If you have a furnace in your garage or attic, make sure nothing is stored near it - especially if that something is flammable.
- Clean spaces near ducts and vents. Make sure nothing is sitting on or in front of your heating vents so warm air can pass freely into your home.
- Fill up your gas tank. If you have a gas-powered heater, call the gas company to come top off your propane tank. The earlier you call, the better; gas prices tend to go up as the temperature goes down.
How to prepare your air conditioner for winter
Believe it or not, you need to prep your air conditioner for cold weather as well to help avoid future AC repairs (or worse, the cost of a new unit installation) - even if you won’t be using it during the coolest months of the year.
How to Clean Your AC’s Condenser Unit
Cleaning the condenser is probably the most time-consuming and complicated step to winterizing your air conditioner.
- Turn off power to the unit.
- Clean the exterior. Vacuum leaves, dust and other debris from the outside of the AC unit.
- Straighten bent fins. Using a butter or putty knife, gently press any misaligned fins on the outside of the AC back into place.
- Remove the top grill by unscrewing it and setting it to the side.
- Lift out the fan (be careful not to disconnect any wires!) and set it aside.
- Remove leaves or other debris from inside the AC unit.
- Wipe down the inside of the unit with a damp cloth.
- Using a garden hose with an attachment, clean the fins by spraying them from the inside of the unit.
- Reassemble the unit and - once complete - turn on power to the unit again.
How to prepare the rest of your AC unit for winter
If your AC unit is on the ground near the side of your home, clean the area of any leaves or grass. Additionally, change the filter. Finally, turn on the unit and listen for any odd sounds coming from the compressor - such as buzzing, thumping, or grinding sounds.
When to Call an HVAC Professional
If you notice either your heating or AC unit making any strange sounds during your winter checklist, get in touch with a professional heating repair or air conditioning repair technician from Spring Branch AC. We’ve served customers just like you throughout Spring and Houston since 1956 and are ready to serve you!