Pennsylvania is home to all types of weather given its continental climate. Unlike those who simply bask in the constant sun and 70 degree weather of Southern California, for better or worse, there are definitely four distinct seasons. The most extreme of these, summer and winter, bring challenges to those who like to stay comfortable in and around our homes, which is why it is imperative to make sure your heating and cooling systems are running at peak efficiency for when the most inclement weather actually does visit your area.
That might mean making some counterintuitive choices, like making sure your furnace is maintained when it is still hot, months ahead of the cold breezes that will fill the air, or even getting maintenance on a unit that you believe to be completely running normally without any noticeable hitches. Whether you want to make sure your Doylestown HVAC unit – or your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning unit anywhere with similar weather conditions is running at peak efficiency for when you will need to rely on it most, read on for some helpful pointers.
Get your Furnace Inspected in the Summertime
This might sound illogical, but the best time to clean out the cobwebs from your furnace is when the humidity is still uncomfortable and the sun is still blazing. You will likely be relying on things like cold glasses of lemonade just to make it through the southern Pennsylvania heat, and it’s a good idea to get your furnace inspected then because regular maintenance is a necessity to keep an HVAC unit running smoothly throughout the year.
The furnace, being one of the biggest, most complicated, and important components to an HVAC unit, will make life easier down the road if you get it inspected by a professional. Not only has it been out of use now for several months since the colder days of early Spring are now long behind you, but after a long time of not being used, the certain parts might fail you at this time. The most common parts to fail include the thermostat, the heat/cold source, or the distribution system. A trained professional will be able to get to the heart of the matter, potentially saving you time, money, and stress down the road so you will have a reliable heating system when the winter finally does come.
A little foresight goes a long way!
Maintain your Filtration System
It is super easy for filters to act if not maintained properly. Because it is such a common culprit, it requires regular attention. There are different parts of the filter that need to be changed out or cleaned. For the electronic air-cleaner filters, clean every two months. For your permanent filters, these need to be rinsed on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, pleated filters need to be replaced about four times a year, or every three months. During the winter months, when the furnace is in use, take a look at the fiberglass filters just to make sure everything is in order about once a month.
Be Aware of Common Issues
While there is no substitute for regular maintenance throughout the year, a little bit of knowledge about common problems can help you understand what is going on with the unit, being able to better explain the issue or to even fix minor issues yourself. When there is less cool air coming from the AC unit than there should be, or when the air feels more moist than normal, or when the house just does not seem to be heating as much or as quickly as it should, it is not a bad idea to peek around to see what is going on.
One common area to check first is the level of Freon in the unit. If it is low, that suggests there might be a leak, which is not just an environmental hazard, but a costly fault in the system that needs to be repaired. Another hazard is faulty wiring, where a worst case scenario could lead to a fire breaking out in a vulnerable part of the house. At the very least, this could pose problems for your break, or prevent the unit from getting enough power to operate at an efficient or normal level.
If the fan is defective, it needs to be replaced because it could cause longer-term problems: it will cost you money if it damages other parts of the unit. A faulty thermostat will render the unit unreliable or even non-functional. And if a part of the unit freezes, like a coil, you might need to get that replaced.
Don’t Overcompensate with the Thermostat
Contrary to some opinion, it does not help the house heat up faster if you turn up thermostat to a setting above what you want the house to be heated and maintained to. The way the thermostat works is by auto-regulating the temperature: this means that it detects the temperature both within and without the home, and maintains whatever temperature you set it to. If it begins to get colder outside, say at night for example, increasing the temperature on the thermostat is not a good idea if it is already set at a comfortable temperature. Still, many do not understand this concept and either raise the temperature to attempt to heat up a home more quickly, or to combat colder outdoor weather. Let it do its job and you will save on your electricity bill.
Turn off the Thermostat when not in Use
Another myth is that turning the thermostat to a low-usage setting will help reduce the electric bill and lead to greater efficiency. This is not the case. The obvious way to save on electricity is to turn off the unit you are not using when you aren’t home, for example, and turn it on when you are. You can set up timers to help you with this as well. Didn’t your mother ever tell you to turn off the lights when you leave a room? Same principle applies here.
If you follow some of these tips for your Doylestown HVAC unit, your heating and cooling should be a breeze!