Last weekend we turned back our clocks one-hour. Not only is this time of year a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, it is also the beginning of the end of our “Texas Summer.” Sometimes it seems we only have two and a half seasons here. In a previous article, I showed you 5 Ways to Save Money on Energy Costs. Keeping your heating and cooling system properly maintained is yet another way to do so. As cooler weather approaches, make sure you schedule a Fall Heating System Tune-up, if you haven’t already.
An annual inspection and cleaning helps to prolong the life of your system and prevent carbon monoxide emissions. According to EnergyStar.gov, here’s what you can expect from an annual heating system tune-up:
- Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
- Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
- Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
- Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
- Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
- Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
When the temperature starts to drop, HVAC professionals will start to get busy, so don’t wait too late to schedule an appointment for a tune-up. In the meantime, you can check the system yourself by turning it on for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the air vents are blowing warm air. On an ongoing basis, be sure to change filters in your heating and cooling system once a month.
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