Winter is coming. It’s the perfect time to execute winter maintenance tips for your HVAC system. We all know the weather elements for the different seasons we have in Vaughan differ. As much as the snow is beautiful during winter, the condition can be detrimental for household appliances.
One of the systems in the home that feels the pangs of winter is your HVAC system. It is not just about switching it from the cooling function to heat. It is crucial to ensure that your HVAC is in excellent working condition. After all, you’re going to need the heating function in winter.
Preparing your HVAC for the holiday season requires some planning. And as you’ll expect, it’ll cost you energy, time and some money. However, whatever the cost you incur now, it’ll be less than when you allow the adverse conditions of winter to cause damage to your HVAC system.
For a system like the HVAC, maintenance is key. As we head into the festive season, knowledge of the proper maintenance tips is essential. You don’t want your HVAC to suddenly break down when you have family in the house.
To make it easy for you, we have created this detailed guide that explores everything you need to know about keeping your HVAC system in top shape through winter.
How Weather Affects Your HVAC System
Various factors will influence the durability of your HVAC system. While these factors may be physical or due to human influence, the weather is a primary influence.
The HVAC system in your home or office has the function of regulating the weather conditions in the house. However, different weather conditions have a distinct influence on the HVAC system. Here’s how:
Drop in Performance
The temperature of the environment can affect how well your HVAC system performs. When the weather outside is cold, the system works to heat the air indoors.
Hence, a drastic drop in the environment’s temperature will cause your HVAC system to work more than it should. Over time, this extra load may call for HVAC repair and maintenance in Vaughan.
This reality makes it harder for an older HVAC system to work well during extreme weather conditions. In the face of extreme cold, your old HVAC system has a tendency of suffering a system failure.
Increase in Energy Bills
When the temperature outside the home is very cold, your HVAC has to do more work to achieve the desired indoor temperature. Hence, it requires more energy, which will cost you more on your power bills.
Each HVAC system has a level of efficiency on which it is rated. This is called the SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. An HVAC system that is 14 and higher is said to be efficient. When the value is at 18 and above, the system is super-efficient and will use less energy to do it’s work.
Makes the system prone to damage
Extreme weather elements can lead to damage to your HVAC system. For instance, extreme hail can cause dents in parts of the system. High winds and tornadoes can also cause immense damage to the HVAC system. This severe weather can cause tree branches to fall and damage the external part of the system.
Tornadoes can also cause damage to the electrical systems of your home. More often than not, you have no control over these scenarios.
This is why you need to take some physical maintenance and preventive measures. For instance, during thunderstorms, it’s best to switch off the HVAC system. You should also cover the outdoor unit with a trampoline. To better prepare for these cases, you should be conversant with weather forecasts and reports.
Common HVAC Problems In Winter
Winter is a tough time for HVAC systems. Although, you can always minimize the effects of the season on your HVAC when you follow through with winter maintenance tips. Some common winter HVAC issues include:
With a sharp drop in temperatures comes the accumulation of ice. When this happens, pipes and coils will suffer. They will begin to freeze with a resultant reduction in functionality. The hydronic parts of the system also begin to dwindle in how well they function.
Examples of these parts are water heaters and steam radiators. Also, there may be a blockage in your pipes as the water freezes in them. This can quickly lead to frustration.
When you don’t attend to them properly, frozen pipes can burst. This is due to the pressure that builds up in the pipes. At this point, preventive HVAC maintenance tips for winter won’t suffice.
Uneven Air Flow and Temperature
Uneven distribution of cool air is another common problem for most homeowners in Vaughan. In this case, some parts of the home will be colder than the others. This is not a good situation to be in.
Typically, the problem may be caused by open vents, doors or window ways. It can also be a function of poor air circulation on the part of your HVAC system. If this is the case, you may need an HVAC professional to check the vents, ducts and other parts of the system.
Malfunctioning Heat Pump
There is a high tendency for the external heat pump to suffer damage in winter. This is probably what you rely on to get your home heated up. During winter, most heat pumps don’t defrost, which can be terrible for optimal operation.
It is best if your HVAC has an automatic defrost setting. This way, ice layers can melt easily before an accumulation occurs. If your HVAC doesn’t have the setting, preventive action will be to clear the frost frequently manually.
To this effect, one of the winter maintenance tips for your HVAC will be to check the fan motors, coils, and heat pumps for the solidification of ice.
Dirty Heater Filters
When you overuse heaters in the winter season, the air filters can easily clog up with dust, dirt and other debris. Due to this blockage, there is a decrease in the amount of airflow. This subsequently reduces the degree of warmth in the house.
Faulty Pilot Light
For some heaters, they’ll only fully ignite when the pilot light turns on. For the heater to work continuously, the light needs to stay on.
When it doesn’t function properly, the house gets cold and becomes unbearable. If the pilot light is faulty, it’s most likely as a result of problems with the flame sensor.
Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless, which makes it very dangerous. It is not easy to detect when it leaks. These leaks result from cracked and rusted heaters.
The leakage of this poisonous gas is common. Hence, you need to inspect the heat exchanger, checking for any dent or cracks.
Related article: How To Choose an HVAC Contractor
How to Get Your HVAC Ready for Winter
In this section, we will discuss winter maintenance tips for your HVAC. These helpful tips will work for before and during the season.
With the winter season right around the corner, you need to get your HVAC system ready. Putting these proper preventive measures in place will help your HVAC system scale through winter without any faults.
Change the filters
The air filter is very critical to the way your HVAC works. To get your HVAC ready for winter, you need to replace it. It’s a crucial component as it serves the purpose of keeping dust and debris out of the system.
Even when it’s not winter, you need to replace your air filters quarterly. Doing this regularly will help extend the lifespan of the HVAC. Regular replacement reduces the risk of the HVAC clogging. Remember, clogging can reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system so you should do all you can to prevent it.
Clean your air ducts
Just before winter, you should inspect the air and heat ducts. During these inspections, you should check for dust, moulds, and allergens. Furthermore, make sure you get rid of any of them if you find traces.
This will make your HVAC function as effectively as it can. When you do this, it’s also going to make the air in your home clean.
Update the thermostat
Updating the thermostat is one of the critical winter maintenance tips for your HVAC. If the thermostat is not functioning optimally, your HVAC won’t be efficient.
Therefore, before your HVAC starts doing the heavy lifting in winter, check if the temperature you set on the thermostat is the actual temperature in the home. If it doesn’t reflect this, you should switch to a digital thermostat.
Digital thermostats work more efficiently than the traditional ones. To ensure your HVAC works well throughout winter, replace your thermostat before the season gets into full swing.
Ensure ample insulation
Another winter maintenance tip for your HVAC is insulation. There’s a need to insulate your home as you head into winter.
Start by inspecting the insulation around the ductwork. When it’s not done correctly, it can lead to pockets of heat losses. As a result, the HVAC in your Vaughan home will be working over time. This increases the possibility of faults and expensive repairs.
Get regular inspection done on the HVAC
If you don’t have any technical know-how of the system, it’s best to schedule a regular check-up with a professional. Regular appointments with an HVAC technician can help you detect faults early and rectify them.
Service your chimney (if you use one)
The chimney is one part of the house that most people don’t check. It’s easy to forget that the chimney exists. However, while you neglect the chimney, it can easily harbour the growth of flammable materials like Creosote.
To prevent this, as much as you can, get a professional to clean the chimney yearly. Preferably, just before winter. Even if you are not burning anything there, clean it. A frequent inspection of the chimney can help you quickly notice any corrosion. You should also check for animal activities and buildup of carbon.
Test the different parts of the HVAC
The HVAC system is a complex system with different components performing differing functions. Hence, as much as you can, you should test the various parts before the winter season. For instance, you should test the igniter switch and the carbon monoxide detectors. Doing this helps you know if there is a need for any repairs.
How to Maintain your HVAC During Winter
Winter maintenance tips for your HVAC are important for you. There are several things you need to put in place before winter starts. The section above explains these. However, even when winter starts, you should still work to protect the system.
Covering the outer unit of the HVAC system
While your preparation for winter may have included that you execute checks and balances, the outer unit is also important. Covering the outer unit of the system is important to preventing the winter elements from causing damage to the HVAC outlet.
To do this, you can make use of a thick covering material. Even when you cover the unit, you should still inspect it from time to time.
During winter, you should also repeat most of the processes stated in the section above. They will keep you ahead of every damage or developments that may occur while the HVAC is dormant.
Frequently Asked Questions on Winter Maintenance for your HVAC
Below are answers to some common queries where winter HVAC maintenance is concerned:
Is HVAC maintenance before winter important?
Yes, it is. These maintenance practices will help your HVAC stay undamaged during the period of high usage. Pre-winter maintenance is important to ensure your HVAC system is in the best possible condition for the holiday season.
Do I need a professional for my HVAC maintenance?
When it comes to maintaining an HVAC system, there is a limit to what you can do efficiently. Hence, you may need to let an HVAC repair professional do the job. They know where to look, and just what to do if they notice any fault.
Personally, you can do a general cleaning and changing of filters. But it’s best to leave the professionals with the technical checks.
How often should I do general HVAC maintenance?
It may cost you money per time. However, it’s best to bring in a professional for a comprehensive check on your HVAC system,M twice a year. Ensure that one of the checks falls just before winter. You should also do a checkup during spring before you head into the summer months.
How much does HVAC Maintenance in Vaughan Cost?
By maintaining your HVAC system, you improve your quality of life during winter. Without a properly functioning HVAC system, extreme winter may be unbearable indoors. The price of HVAC maintenance in Vaughan and the GTA varies from place to place.
It also depends on the level of maintenance, especially regarding the difference in repairs needs. It’s only after you know what part of the HVAC system you need to repair that you can have a definite price.
However, following through the winter maintenance tips for your HVAC will come at a price range of $150 and $600. Several factors influence this pricing.
- The type of HVAC system you have
- The service cost.
- The age of the HVAC system.
Older HVAC systems prove more difficult. Hence, you may need to pay more to keep them in good shape. The repairs you will do also play a major influencing role. Going through with these maintenance checks helps the system survive through the winter. This way, you don’t have to worry about a breakdown when the shimmering sun of summer rises after spring.
Winter maintenance tips for your HVAC are important. Of course, you will have to set some time apart to do them but the benefits make the stress worth it.
Ensure that you do everything on the list to prepare your HVAC for the holiday season. Proper maintenance ensures that you don’t have to worry about buying another HVAC once winter ends.
Of course, finding the time to do these winter maintenance tips for your HVAC may be difficult. Why don’t you leave it to the professionals? Here at ALP heating, we offer prompt, reliable and expert HVAC repair services. Get in touch with an experienced technician today!