Southern Arizona residents know to expect cold temperatures during the Fall and Winter. Cold mornings, freezing nights, and the occasional snowfall are familiar to those who live in the Sonoran desert. As the desert transitions into the Fall and Winter, consider taking a few steps now to make sure your heating system is prepared to provide your home warmth and comfort throughout these seasons.
1. Update your thermostat settings
When the temperatures start to drop, one of the first things to do is adjust your thermostat’s settings from cooling to heating. Now is also a good time to set your thermostat to a desired temperature that is comfortable for your home. Depending on your thermostat’s capabilities, you can also consider programming a schedule for your thermostat to have different desired temperatures at different times of the day.
2. Replace your filters
Regularly replacing your filters is an important way to keep your system running smoothly and maintaining optimal air quality in your home. By replacing your filters every 1 to 3 months, your home breathes cleaner air and your air conditioning and heating system will last longer.
To replace your filter, first use the thermostat to turn the system off. Then, unlatch the grill holding the filter and remove the filter. Install the new filter and close the grill. If your home has more than one filter, make sure you replace each one.
3. Do a test run of your furnace
Before you need your home’s central heating, it is a good idea to do a test run to make sure it is ready for the colder months ahead. To do this, simply set your thermostat to the heat setting and set a temperature slightly higher than the current room temperature. Your furnace should take between 1 to 5 minutes to turn on.
Once it turns on, pay attention to your furnace. Some things to check for are:
Proper warm air flow from all the supply vents.
These vents supply your home with hot and cold air. When performing the test run, check the vents in each room to make sure there is a good amount of warm air going into each room. If one or more rooms are not getting enough warm air, consider calling an expert.
Unusual or loud noises when your furnace starts up and as it runs.
Loud noises can result from various factors, including a loose part, a part that needs to be replaced, or a system hitting the end of its life cycle. If you hear loud or unusual noises, call an HVAC technician. They should be able to determine the cause and offer solutions.
Bad smells or gas odors (if your home has a gas furnace)
Unusual smells coming from your system should never be ignored. These odors can mean that there is a gas leak or an electrical or mechanical issue that needs to be addressed and should only be handled by a professional. Gas leaking into your home can be extremely dangerous to your health and safety.
4. Check your gas / carbon monoxide alarm
If your house uses a gas furnace, it is very important to make sure that your house has a gas detecting alarm installed either near the furnace or somewhere inside of your home. Before every season, check that your alarm is working and that the batteries are in good condition. If you have a gas furnace but do not have an alarm installed, please consider getting one for the safety of your home and family.
5. Schedule a maintenance for your system
Preventative service is important step to keep your system running smoothly year after year. Regular maintenance also helps decrease the chances of your system breaking down when needed the most. If you notice any issues with your furnace during your test run, you can let your HVAC technician know and the can help you fix those problems at the time of the service.