by wfcadmin wfcadmin

End-of-Summer HVAC Checklist

Fall is just around the corner. And since it’s America’s most popular season (according to a poll from YouGov), there’s a lot to look forward to. With temperatures in Kentucky averaging a 68º high and 42º low, fall is the perfect season to shut off your air conditioner, open the windows, and relax.

Indeed, fall is the time to give your air conditioner a break and settle into the cool weather before it’s time to reprogram your thermostat and dust off that thermostat. Because of that, the end of summer is also the perfect time to get both your air conditioner and furnace ready for the colder months ahead.

So for your convenience, we put together a handy checklist you can consult when figuring out what to do with your HVAC system at the end of summer.

Central Air Conditioner Checklist

  • Remove and clean the fan
  • Straighten the fins of the outdoor unit
  • Vacuum the fins
  • Spray the fins with a hose
  • Clean the evaporator coils
  • Replace the filter with a HEPA-certified one
  • Cover the top of the condenser unit with a tarp
    • But not the entire thing

The best way to get your air conditioner ready for its long rest ahead is to make sure it’s clean and covered before autumn hits. Most central A/C units are very similar, so you shouldn’t have any trouble taking them apart if it’s your first time. If you’re having trouble removing the fan or finding where the filter is, try a few YouTube searches of your unit’s model number. If that doesn’t work, you’re best off just calling a professional.

To straighten the fins, you can either use a dinner knife or a fin comb. You’re more likely to have a dinner knife lying around, but fin combs do the job much better.

When you cover your outdoor A/C unit, you should never cover it all the way, like you would cover a grill. You should only cover the top. If you cover it all the way, moisture will get trapped inside the unit which will quickly mold and rust. Instead, just cover the top. In fact, a wooden plank a little larger than the unit itself will work fine for this.

While this is an excellent list for getting your air conditioner ready for it’s long rest and subsequent revival, there are still a lot of things that only a professional should do, such as checking the coolant levels or diagnosing oil leaks.

Furnace Checklist

  • Make sure the condensation drain isn’t clogged
  • Make sure the exhaust outlets aren’t clogged
  • Check for leaks in your ductwork and seal with them metal tape
  • Clean your vents and air registers
  • Switch your damper if you have one
  • Oil your blower
  • Replace the filter

A furnace’s filter is usually located around the base of the unit itself. If you’re having trouble finding it, consult your owners manual (a copy is usually on the manufacturer’s website if you don’t have it handy). Most of these steps can be accomplished without any special knowhow. Many furnaces have a sliding panel at the front that opens up, but yours might not. Again, owner’s manuals and Google are your friend here.

Dampers are switches that switch the flow of air between the air conditioner and furnace. If you don’t have a separate set of ducts for your air conditioner and furnace, you almost definitely have dampers. The location of your dampers depends, but they usually look like a round knob on the side of one of your ducts.

The inside of a furnace is an especially fragile place. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to break an essential part of your furnace: the igniter. Some furnaces have a pilot light, a small flame that burns all year long, and others have an ignition key, a piece of metal that heats up to ignite the flame. The ignition key is fragile, and it’s easy to damage if you aren’t careful. If you break your ignition key, not only will your furnace not produce any heat, but it could fill your home with explosive natural gas. If you’re at all worried about this, it’s best to call in for maintenance.

Other Things to Do

  • Dust your fans
  • Switch your thermostat programming
  • Test your thermostat
  • Schedule maintenance

Once you shut off your central A/C unit for the season, it’s time to run your ceiling fans! Ceiling fans help to circulate air and help the room feel more comfortable. But if you haven’t used yours in awhile, they’re probably covered in dust. Grab a ladder and some wipes and dust it clean.

You should also pay attention to your thermostat. Switch your thermostat from cooling to heating mode, and make sure you test it. An easy way to do that is by turning the thermostat to a few degrees hotter than it currently reads. So if your house is currently 70ºs, you should crank the thermostat up to 72º and wait a few minutes. If all is well, you should hear the furnace turn on and begin heating the home. If you don’t hear anything, you should get your equipment looked at.

Call Steve’s Heating and Cooling for Thorough Maintenance All Year Long

When it comes to keeping your HVAC system running smoothly, there is a lot you can do to keep your home comfortable and your energy bills low. But there are many things, like cleaning your heating coils, that only a professional should do. Without an expert’s expertise, you’re liable to ruin your system—a costly mistake.

So if you’re serious about taking care of your HVAC system, schedule a visit from Steve’s Heating. Our team has years of HVAC experience and will get your maintenance done in half the time it’d take you to do yourself. Plus, our Comfort Club members get 10% off any repairs that are needed.

by wfcadmin wfcadmin

Why DIY HVAC Repair is a Bad Idea

With the internet, it’s easier than ever for the DIY enthusiast to learn about the intricacies of the equipment that he uses every day. And most of the time, that’s a great thing. People should want to know how the things around them work. It’s exciting, and it helps you appreciate what you have more.

But HVAC systems should under no circumstances be worked on by anybody other than a licensed professional. Here’s why:

You’ll Probably Break Something

There’s a reason that most states legally require HVAC technicians to go through special training and certification programs: HVAC systems are complicated. Your air conditioner is a complex contraption of gears, chemicals, parts, and electricity. For the unit to work properly as a whole, each piece has to function correctly. If you don’t know how all the components work together, it’s easy to mess something up without realizing it.

And since the whole point of a DIY fix is to save money on some sort of repair, it seems counter-intuitive to us to pursue a DIY repair that’s more likely to fail than anything. And believe us: you’ll spend more to get a botched repair fixed than if you had just called a specialist in the first place.

It’s Dangerous

HVAC certifications aren’t just for show—they exist to protect the technicians and the people whose HVAC systems get worked on.

Air conditioners use various gasses as refrigerants, and furnaces typically burn either oil or natural gas. The coolants in air conditioners and natural gas in furnaces are both oxygen displacers, which means that in a small space, they’ll take the place of oxygen. This means if you get enough of either gas in your lungs, oxygen won’t be able to force it out, leading to loss of consciousness and even death. Not to mention, natural gas is explosive.

Even if you spring a link that doesn’t hurt you, it’ll still mean that your air conditioner won’t do any cooling, which, again, defeats the whole purpose of repairing it yourself in the first place.

Also, many air conditioners are high voltage. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since air conditioners are one of the highest-energy-using appliances there are. With this high voltage comes a very real risk of electrocution if you don’t know what you are doing. So leave it to the pros.

You’re Likely to Void the Warranty

If you aren’t concerned about your health, maybe this will sway you: by forgoing professional HVAC maintenance, you’re also forgoing your manufacturer’s warranty. If you have an owner’s manual for a Trane air conditioner or heating unit, you’ll notice this bit of text:

“The Products must be properly installed, operated, and maintained by a licensed HVAC service provider in accordance with the Product specifications or installation, operation, and maintenance instructions provided by Company with each Product. Failure to conform to such specifications and/or instructions shall void this limited warranty. Company may request written documentation showing the proper preventative maintenance.”

In other words, your HVAC unit’s warranty isn’t valid unless it was properly installed and maintained by a certified professional—and it’s on you to prove that.

A warranty is a company’s way of saying that they believe in their products. By offering a warranty, they’re telling you that their equipment is guaranteed to last a certain amount of time, and if it doesn’t, they’ll replace the part at no charge to you. But no HVAC unit can run for long without (proper) maintenance, just like your car couldn’t go 200,000 miles without an oil change. So hire an HVAC company for maintenance and spare your wallet the trouble.

By the way, Steve’s Heating has great warranties on both parts and labor.

Let Steve’s Heating & Cooling Handle Your Maintenance Needs

If it’s time that your furnace or air conditioner was maintained, get in touch with us. We’ve been serving Florence, KY for over 30 years and pride ourselves on making the community a better place.

If you’re a member of our comfort club, you’ll get a yearly or bi-annual tuneup and professional cleaning. Not to mention a 10% discount on all repairs and no overtime charges! If you’re interested in becoming a comfort club member, give us a call today at 859-795-2172.