Winter is upon us and that means your heating system is probably getting a lot of use, which can lead to stress on the system that results in breakdowns. HVAC systems are built to last, but they need a little help along the way to perform at their best. Here in Columbia and throughout mid-Missouri, we all know winters can seem to last forever.
Before the next cold spell hits, it’s a great time to inspect your HVAC system. At MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we perform a full assessment of client HVAC setups in spring and autumn to keep things running efficiently.
Here are some of the checks you can perform yourself as a homeowner before calling in the experts.
Filters are a small but important piece in the HVAC puzzle. Filters catch unwanted debris, keeping it from circulating in your home when the air is on. Both air conditioning and heating units use filters to reduce air pollution in your home.
HVAC filters should be changed at least every three months, but it’s especially important before peak seasons like summer and winter to have them changed. Fall is a great time to inspect and change your filter.
Furnace and Thermostat
Thermostats tell you how well your HVAC system is performing. If your furnace isn’t able to meet demands for temperature change, there could be something wrong. A quick check of the thermostat is a great place to begin your furnace inspection.
After checking the thermostat, you can inspect the furnace itself. Some items to check off your list include:
- Blue pilot light: A yellow light isn’t burning properly
- Gas line: Look for leaks or any potential cracks in the line
- Clean burners: Burners need to be clear of soot and dirt
- Wiring: Any frayed or disconnected wires are cause for concern
Use all your senses as you inspect your furnace. Strange sounds or smells could indicate trouble. Contact your HVAC specialist if you notice anything out of the ordinary in or around the furnace. Leaving furnace problems for longer than necessary can further damage individual components or the entire furnace.
MasterTech can also inspect your heating system for a nominal fee if you aren’t a member of a Scheduled Service Plan which includes that service.
Check Home Detectors
Every home in Columbia should be outfitted with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. During your fall HVAC check, test each detector to see if it works. Change batteries as needed and wipe clean if detectors have become dirty.
At least one of each detector should be installed on each level of your home. The National Fire Protection Association says there should also be smoke alarms in every bedroom or sleeping area, as well as the basement. Downstairs detectors are necessary even in homes with unfinished basements.
If you have a home humidifier, it gets a lot of use during the winter. Cold months tend to be dryer than warm months. Be sure to change or thoroughly clean the water panel (pad) in late summer or early fall. Replacing the water panel (pad) once per year is highly advised.
Water panels (pad) should be cleaned once every three months, but if you notice more activity in the fall and winter, an extra cleaning doesn’t hurt.
Repair or Replace?
There are a number of factors to consider including age of the system, what is currently wrong with it, is it a high-efficiency system or not, and has it needed other repairs recently?
Most systems come with a 10-year warranty that covers parts. The life expectancy of a quality system that has been maintained is 15-20 years. If your system is 15 years or older and needs repairs in the $800 or higher range, it’s probably a good idea to consider getting a new one. New parts on an older system can often put stress on other older parts leading to additional repairs which means additional expenditures on your part. It can quickly escalate to the point where a new system with updated technology would be a better choice.
Also, it’s advisable to always replace your whole system, meaning both the heating AND cooling system at once. You’ll enjoy better efficiency, save on installation fees, and your current system was likely a matched set so once your furnace breaks down, the odds are very strong your air conditioning will too in the near future.
Get in Touch with MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling for Fall HVAC Servicing Today
If you’d like to have your heating system inspected, we can help. Our team of experienced HVAC specialists will assess your current setup, help with cleaning and maintenance, and can make recommendations if it needs to be replaced. Give us a call to make an appointment today