Furnace Maintenance: 7 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Fall

Preparing Your Home for Fall and Cooler Weather

As the seasons change, there is always something to look forward to, and we all appreciate the relief from the intense Summer heat when Fall arrives. The leaves are changing color, giving us better reasons for spending time in the great outdoors. As the season changes, there are some steps you can take to prepare your whole house for cooler weather.

Furnace Maintenance Start Outdoors

  1. Raking Leaves and Trimming Limbs. The Summer sun makes trees and shrubs thrive, but when they sense shorter days and less sunlight they rest and prepare for next Spring. Leaves fall, sap retreats, and some trees will drop limbs that are no longer useful. You may need to collect lawn debris a couple of times, as different varieties of vegetation respond differently.

This is also an excellent time to trim limbs and shrubs. Since the vital fluids that course through a growing plant drop to the roots, limbs can be trimmed without significant harm. Pruning dead wood away will also reduce the risk of disease.

  1. Address Gutters and Downspouts. While you are collecting leaves and limbs, check your gutters for a collection of flowers, seeds/nuts, leaves, and limbs. Some home gutters are easier to reach than others. This task will require a sturdy ladder, waterproof gloves to protect your hands (it can be a mess), and a certain level of comfort with heights.

Full gutters add weight and can cause sagging. If downspouts clog, heavy rains can cause rot, mold, and mildew on the fascia and siding. If you prefer not to repeat this task several times per year, consider installing a gutter guard to prevent debris from entering the gutters and downspouts.

  1. Check for Needed Roof Repair. While you’re on the ladder, do a visual inspection of your roof. Weather and age cause shingles, tiles, and flashing to move, grow brittle and break. Finding and repairing a missing shingle is much more preferable to finding the resulting leak. Repairing a roof is more pleasant in the Fall than in Summer or Winter.
  2. Test for Air Leaks. On the inside, check windows and doors for air leaks. Pick a pleasant day and turn off the HVAC, ceiling, and exhaust fans. Light an incense stick and pass it slowly around windows casings and outside door frames. Watch for movement of the incense smoke, indicating air moving around doors and windows. Approximately 35% of heated air can move through drafty windows during the cooling season.

The movement of air can be reduced with caulk (on the outside) and weather stripping (on the inside). Read, watch videos or consult with a building materials consultant for the best products for your region. Consider both hot and cold weather extremes to determine a product that will last.

  1. Program Your Thermostat. If you still have an analog dial thermostat, find a programmable or smart thermostat that will work with your HVAC system and install it (or have it installed). A programmable thermostat increases your comfort level by changing the settings to meet your schedule. Many people prefer to sleep at a little cooler temperature but want the bathroom nice and warm for a morning shower. A programmable thermostat can reduce your energy bill. Lower the temperature several degrees after everyone leaves for school or work and program a warming period shortly before the family arrives.
  2. Start the Heating Season with a Clean Air Filter. Air filters remove dust, dander, pollen, mold spores, and even bacteria and viruses. However, a very dirty filter will reduce airflow, putting stress on the finely tuned mechanical components that keep you safe and warm. Filters should be changed every three months, or approximately once per season. Develop a schedule and change your air filter with the change of seasons. Your home will be cleaner and the air safer; your blower motor will send thank you notes.
  3. The Perfect Time for a Furnace Check-up. Your furnace is not a luxury, but a necessity to keep your family warm, cool, and safe. An annual preventative maintenance check will help:
    1. Uncover minor issues before they become major issues.
    2. Make sure the system is working efficiently.
    3. Remove dust and dirt that has evaded the air filter.

Your HVAC system is a complex, mechanical system that needs care and adjustments, and Furnace Maintenance.

Have Questions About Furnace Maintenance?

Northwind Air Conditioning and Heat can help with Furnace Maintenance and repair. Contact us and get the answers you need.

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