When the outdoor temperatures drop, it's time to switch your HVAC from cooling to heating and you want your furnace to be ready to go. However, you may not be looking forward to a cold winter if your heating bills are always high. Here are some tips for getting your HVAC ready for winter and some things you can do to keep heating costs as low as possible.
Have Your Furnace Checked by an HVAC Technician
An important step in helping your furnace work efficiently is to have it cleaned and serviced by a technician. If there are any problems with the furnace, you want to find them and repair them so the furnace doesn't break down during a bitterly cold spell. The technician will service the parts and make repairs if needed. In addition, the ignition area is cleaned of soot if you have a gas furnace so the burners will ignite and operate optimally.
Install a New Thermostat
If your home has enough attic and wall insulation and you still have high power bills, you may want to invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. A smart thermostat is handy because it senses when you leave the house and it will automatically adjust the setting so your furnace doesn't run as much when you're away. By adjusting the temperature when you're away and when you sleep at night, your furnace won't run as much and you can save money on your bill.
Check the Ducts
It's easy to forget about the ducts in your HVAC system since they are tucked away, but it's good to check them regularly for leaks. If a seam comes loose or a stray animal gets in your attic and tears open a duct, you'll waste a lot of conditioned air. Your home won't be as warm and your furnace may need to run constantly to compensate for the leak. Leaky ducts can often be repaired with sealant or even duct tape. When your ducts are in good repair, both your AC and furnace will operate more efficiently and you won't waste money cooling or heating the attic.
Don't Forget the AC Condenser
You may need to protect the condenser outside over the winter. Talk to the HVAC technician about what you should do. The technician might even help you turn off power to the condenser and get it ready for winter when they make a furnace service call. You may not want to wrap the condenser since this could hold moisture inside the unit and give mice a place to nest, but putting some sort of cover or roof over the top of the unit can protect it from debris.