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(BPT) - As temperatures start dropping, now is the perfect time to make sure your home will be comfy and cozy all winter. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure your heating system is in good working condition to get you through those chilly winter months — and potentially save on energy bills, too. The best time to do this is early in the season, before everyone else is in a rush to repair or upgrade their HVAC systems.
Even if it’s not cold yet, turn up your thermostat to see how your system is working. Does the heat turn on quickly, and are you feeling warm air coming through the vents? If your furnace has trouble getting started or the air flow seems weak, you could be behind on maintenance — or you may need to upgrade your system.
Here are tips for maintaining your HVAC system, along with action steps to keep everything in good running order.
1. Schedule a tune-up
Having a professional HVAC technician visit at least once a year for a furnace cleaning and tune-up is important for proper maintenance. Scheduling this appointment early in the season is a good idea, as techs get very busy after the first deep freeze happens. An experienced technician will clean all the components and make sure everything is working as it should and can alert you to potential problems before they grow into safety hazards.
2. Change the furnace filter
A dirty furnace filter interferes with how efficiently your heating works — increasing energy costs, while also making your home’s air less clean and comfortable. How often you should change your furnace filter depends on its size, so check the manufacturer recommendations. You can also change a furnace filter more frequently than recommended for maximum comfort, especially when your furnace is under heavy use, you have pets or if you have a family member prone to allergies.
Pro tip: Set calendar reminders on your phone for changing your filter regularly so you won’t forget.
3. Upgrade your thermostat
If your thermostat is older, it may be a good idea to upgrade to a more energy-efficient or smart thermostat. Besides allowing for control when away from home, newer thermostats are better at regulating your HVAC system, keeping your entire system running more smoothly, which can make your home more comfortable and save on energy costs.
4. Consider a replacement
If your HVAC system is old or not functioning well, replacing it with a newer model can offer many benefits, including a much warmer home in the winter as well as savings on energy bills. Ask your HVAC technician what shape your furnace is in, and whether there are any signs that it needs to be repaired or replaced.
5. Check the concrete pad
Both to work more efficiently and to be safer from potential minor flooding, your outdoor condensing unit should be placed on a level concrete pad. If you have a level, you can easily check the slab that your condensing unit currently sits on. If it’s an old concrete pad that's in rough shape or it’s not level, this is something that should be corrected, whether or not you are replacing your HVAC system.
When you're ready to replace your condenser, one simple way to save money is to install the concrete pad yourself. This can be easily accomplished by using four 24"x24" square concrete stones from Pavestone, along with paver sand, to do the job. Pavestone concrete stones provide a quick and easy solution to creating a solid, level foundation for your HVAC system, and does not require expertise to install. You can find easy-to-follow instructions on the product itself, and the process is similar to the video for how to install patio stones on the Pavestone website.
Following these steps, your home can be prepared now, before winter gets well underway. Starting early means you’ll have less time to wait for service, and you can also find better prices on system maintenance or the purchase of a new HVAC system before the winter rush.