Get your heating system ready for winter, reduce energy costs and improve home comfort.
Have you thought about winter readiness? September is the time to start thinking about home heating and indoor air quality, even if the temperatures are still in the 80s.
The last thing any homeowner wants is to turn on their home heating system on the first frosty night of the season only to find that it doesn’t work.
What should you do in September and October to prepare for chilly nights while also considering your indoor air quality? H.B. McClure has some HVAC tips and ideas for staying warm while also reducing your monthly utility costs.
Schedule a heating system tune-up. If you don’t have a service contract that automates the service aspect of system maintenance, early September is the best time to call to schedule a tune-up. System maintenance can help identify problems in advance and prevent break downs and expensive, emergency repairs. Routine maintenance can also help improve system performance which translates to lower operating costs.
Replace your filters. Some people time filter replacement to the changing of the clocks (spring and fall). This is not often enough. Lack of regular filter changes not only increases monthly utility costs because the system labors harder to work (thus drawing more energy and increasing cost), but it also leads to system failures and expensive emergency repairs. Change your filter regularly – once a month is not too much to at least check the filter if not replace it.
Consider a Generator. Thousands of central Pennsylvanians have been negatively impacted by serious storm damage in the past several years. Many of these occurred in September and early October as part of the hurricane season. Generators have increased in popularity and for good reason. Consider purchasing a generator to help mitigate the losses you may incur if another major storm hits. H.B. McClure offers a variety of options from large to small, and we can help homeowners prioritize the things that must be operational vs. the things that would be nice to have if a major storm hits.
Generator maintenance. If you have a generator, it’s important to have it maintained just as you would with any other major home system (heat pump, furnace, etc.). Schedule a routine maintenance inspection to ensure that your system will be operational when you need it most. And make sure you have enough fuel (such as propane to keep it up and running for a specific length of time).
Maintain the area around your heat pump. If you have an outdoor unit it is important to keep the area clear of debris such as limbs, leaves and excess dirt. Did you know that the sides of a heat pump require up to 18 inches of clearance for proper performance? Any foliage – even grass clippings – that are too close to the unit may interfere with performance and cause the system to work harder (thus drawing more energy) or break down entirely.
Check your PVC side wall venting for high efficiency propane or natural gas equipment. If your PVC inlet or exhaust flue venting exit your home near grade level, please be sure to keep that area clear of any leaves or debris. Also be aware check this area for snow drifts. Obstructions to those lines may place the equipment into a lock-out, causing a lack of heat or hot water.
Add insulation to your attic. Due to rising fuel costs, the current DOE [Department of Energy] recommended attic insulation for our region is R-49 [17” of blown-in insulation]. This is a significant increase from the R-38 standard of just a few years ago.