Where did the summer go? We at Warner Service can’t believe that Labor Day has already passed and that the cold months will be here before we know it! With this in mind, Warner Service really wants to encourage you to prepare for the cold this year by testing your HVAC system before you need it for winter.
This gives you time if there are any issues with your heating system to make repairs so that your home is ready to be heated on the first day you need it.
The first step to getting your HVAC system ready for the winter is to make sure the outside components are clean and ready to go. However, be sure to turn off the power to the unit and unplug it before looking at any of the parts closely for safety purposes. Below are a couple of key components to check:
1. The Outside of your Unit
First, be sure to examine the outside casing around your heat pump unit. Often because of the storms we receive in the Mid-Atlantic region, dirt, mud, and debris can build up on the side of your unit. This buildup can cause inefficiencies and block the flow of air in your home. Your home’s heat pump is responsible for forcing air in or out of your home to keep it fresh and clean, in addition to warm.
If that airflow is disrupted, your HVAC system will need to work harder than necessary to move the air, causing increased energy costs. In addition, the air in your home will be less pure and the temperatures in your house will not be as consistent. Luckily, fixing this issue takes almost no time at all: simply use a broom or a brush to clean the outside of your unit to be back up and running in no time.
2. The Fan
The next area to focus on when cleaning your outside HVAC unit is the top fan. The fan is the component of the heat pump unit that does the actual pumping. The fan in your unit spins very quickly to move the air inside your home, and can become very dangerous if it is obstructed by debris. Similar to what we did on the side of the unit, check the top for any branches or other large obstructions.
In addition, as the leaves begin to fall, make sure that they are not entering into your fan, especially if they are wet. Leaves are usually kept out of HVAC units by the protective grate on top of the fan, but if they do enter they can damage some of the moving internal parts. Maintaining your fan is simple: keep your fan clear, and it will keep your house warm.
3. The Condenser Coil
Next, be sure to check the condenser coil on the inside of your unit. The condenser coil is also what we cleaned in step one, but checking the inside of the coil is always a good idea as well. It is best to use water to clean the inside of the coils (especially before you need to worry about frozen hoses!) because the dirt/dust will flow from the inside to the outside of your unit, keeping the internals and the base of the unit clean and functioning.
Do not, however, get any water on the fan motor or any wires on the inside of the unit. Finally, after the unit dries out, use a vacuum to remove any outstanding dirt/debris from the inside of your unit (just watch out for wires and other small parts).
4. The Mechanics
Finally, one of the most important parts of your outdoor unit to check before heating season is here is the condition of the mechanics inside. The most important internals to check are belts and the fan motor. The belts, just like car belts, can sometimes fray and dry out, putting them at risk in your unit. Be sure to check these belts and replace them if necessary.
Next, the fan motor should also be checked and maintained. Fan motors should be lubricated once a year with a small amount (a couple of drops) of oil to keep parts safe. Next, watch your fan as it runs to see if there are any noticeable issues. To be sure, however, it is suggested that a certified HVAC technician examines your unit.
With these tips, you can get your HVAC unit outside ready for the coming winter and give yourself some peace of mind as well. To fully prepare for the coming winter, give Warner Service a call to have a certified technician examine your individual heating system to ensure that it will work on the first day you need it!