7 Tips to Prepare Your Home’s HVAC System for a Snowstorm
The winter weather is pretty unpredictable, and it can get even more unpredictable when snow and ice are in the forecast. Since you don’t know if the snowfall will be a blizzard or light dusting, the last thing you want is to discover a problem with your HVAC unit that you could have tackled sooner. Timely and proper maintenance of the unit can prevent minor problems from becoming major and expensive fixes in the long run.
Whether you own a heat pump, a furnace, or a multipurpose system, preparing your HVAC unit for winter weather can optimize the operational efficiency of your system. It can also lower your energy bills and prolong the lifespan of your unit. Generally, seasonal maintenance tasks are pretty easy to handle, and the payoff is huge. Below is a list of important tips you can implement to prepare your HVAC unit for the winter weather.
1. Check and Replace Filters
If there are weather forecasts of snowstorms or blizzards in your region, you need to check your filters and change them if necessary. The work of air filters is to filter air before it flows into your house. The filters can clog with time, depending on your household and where you live. If your filters are dirty, your HVAC unit will have to work extra hard to keep your living space comfortable and will consume more energy while doing so.
According to experts, you need to replace filters once every two months. However, if you live in a city where dust and smoke are everywhere, keep pets, or have a member of your family who smokes, you need to replace your filters every month. By changing your filters, you’ll prevent debris, dirt, and other air pollutants from being circulated in your living space. Replacing filters is an easy-to-do DIY project, but you can hire an HVAC professional to do it for you.
2. Inspect Your Heat Pump
Heat pumps are designed to prevent ice and snow from accumulating on top of the heating unit. While these units can easily handle the severe winter weather, they can also get clogged, especially during snowstorms. Therefore, it’s necessary to check whether your unit is clear to keep it in good working condition.
Excess snow can cause your heating unit to become less efficient or lead to premature breakdown. Inspect the heating unit and clear snow from the sides, top, underneath, and surrounding area to ensure proper drainage during the defrosting process. Also, ensure that nothing is built over your heat pump to prevent airflow issues.
3. Maintain the Furnace
The other thing you can do to prepare your HVAC system for the harsh winter weather is by scheduling a furnace tune-up. By maintaining your furnace, the HVAC system will last longer, the heating bills won’t skyrocket, and your home will have better energy efficiency. HVAC servicing needs to be performed during the fall season to ensure the unit is in good shape to meet the rising heating demands before the cold weather sets in.
Your HVAC contractor will check the furnace belts, regulators, and switches during maintenance to ensure your unit works properly. These professionals will examine the furnace for potential problems while providing every component’s care to alleviate wear and tear effects. This way, performance issues can be caught and corrected early to prevent damage to the HVAC unit. It’ll also help you avoid unexpected system outages during the cold months when you need it the most. If your home has a gas furnace, remember to check its exhaust vent as well to ensure it’s free of any debris.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A thermostat controls the heat within an HVAC unit. However, there are times you might find that it’s giving some false temperature readings, especially if you have a manual thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat can help in regulating indoor temperatures more effectively and accurately. Since the device has smart technology, it can easily learn your habits and daily routines to tweak the temperature settings accordingly. With a programmable thermostat, you can also pre-define different temperatures, which your device should run at specified times. It has the added benefit of guaranteeing more energy-efficient operations of your furnace. These devices also help in achieving better heating for indoor spaces.
5. Clear Your Vents
It’s easy to neglect the vents when performing HVAC maintenance. Heated air enters inside your indoor environment via these vents. Therefore, it’s important to clear them when winterizing your home. If there are obstructions like furniture or drapes in front of your vents, they’ll not circulate heated air properly. Blocked vents limit airflow, making it difficult to attain your preferred indoor temperatures in the cold season. It can also cause HVAC malfunctions, leading to regular service calls or even a premature breakdown of the unit.
6. Have a Backup Generator
It’s common to have power outages during the cold season. When this happens, average homes can be left without any heating. Going for a long time without heating in your home can lead to unsafe living conditions. Installing a suitable home generator to power your heating unit can help keep your family warm and comfortable throughout the cold season. Get your HVAC system ready for snowstorms by investing in a reliable backup generator if your area experiences power outages.
7. Inspect and Add Insulation
The other way you can prepare your HVAC unit for winter weather is by ensuring your home has good insulation. Proper insulation lowers your energy bills throughout both winter and summer by creating a more temperature-controlled indoor environment. Poor insulation will force your HVAC system to work harder and consume more power to pump heat into your living space. Besides, it can also lead to poor indoor heating, especially in snow conditions. If you want your home to retain the air heated by your furnace, ensure your property is properly insulated. Inspect your insulation for any air leaks and seal them.
While at it, check weatherstrips on all your windows or doors to prevent drafts of cold air in your house. Also, check your attic to ensure your insulation is working well and the heat is not getting lost. A well-insulated house is an incredibly efficient home. That’s because it’ll allow your HVAC to run at optimal efficiency without you paying extra utility bills. Consider hiring an HVAC contractor to check your insulation to ensure your HVAC unit is ready for the unpredictable winter weather.
Make Your HVAC System Winter Ready
Snowstorms are a normal part of the winter season experience in many places. To keep your home warm and safe, you need to make sure your heating unit is in good condition. By following the above tips, you will be protecting your HVAC system and the safety of your entire family as well. If you are looking for professional HVAC unit maintenance, our skilled professionals at Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning have got you covered. Our experts will inspect and prepare your HVAC system for winter weather challenges to ensure your home is comfortable, warm, and safe throughout the season.
We also offer energy consultations, furnace, boiler, heat pump, electrical, air conditioning, and water heater services throughout Seattle, WA, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about getting your HVAC ready for a snowstorm or to schedule your service appointment.