Prepare HVAC System for Fall (6 Tips!)

Fall weather seems far off now, but it arrives in the Montgomery, AL area soon so it’s time to prepare HVAC systems for fall. This ensures your equipment is wrapped up after working hard all summer, ready to tackle chilly temperatures and is safe in the event of heavy storms. We’ll cover specifics for air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps and ductless units. 

HVAC Fall Preparation Tips

  1. Book your seasonal HVAC tune up

  2. Clear debris from AC compressor unit area

  3. Protect your AC compressor unit from heavy storms

  4. Clean vents; consider duct sealing

  5. Remove window AC units (if you have them)

  6. Change batteries in smoke and CO detectors

1. Heating System Tune Up

One of the most important things you need to do to prepare an HVAC system for fall is to schedule a heating system tune up. This tune up provides your furnace or heat pump with the service it needs for better energy efficiency over the winter and better comfort inside your Montgomery area home. 

When you check “prepare HVAC system for fall” off your to-do list with a heating system tune up, you gain the following advantages:

  • Lower heating bills throughout the colder months
  • Optimized system performance for more even, steady, and reliable warmth indoors
  • Less likelihood of breakdowns during the fall, winter, and early spring
  • Peace of mind from a verified safe heating system
  • Longer service life from a well-maintained heating unit

Ensure your heating system receives the essential services it needs to keep your family comfortable and save energy this winter – join our Express Comfort Club

You receive great discounts on your fall and spring HVAC system tune ups as well as a double repair discount on any necessary fixes found during maintenance. Receive VIP response priority, no overtime charges, plus additional repair discounts and warranty.

2. Clean AC Compressor and Area

First, turn off power to the AC compressor unit. Usually there’s a metal lid near the unit with an on/off switch. 

Second, clear away leaves, twigs and other debris around the AC compressor. It’s easy for lawn clippings and other yard waste to accumulate around it. This attracts rodents and other nesting animals plus the fan could suck in the debris and become clogged or even bend the fan blades. 

Third, be sure plants are at least two to three feet away from the AC compressor. Remove invasive plants. Some people like to camouflage the AC compressor but obstructing airflow is terrible for the HVAC system. 

Finally, with the unit turned off, hose off the exterior of the AC compressor to remove pollen, dust, dirt and spiderwebs. Let the unit dry before turning it back on, ideally. You want to avoid sucking any moisture into your system if possible. 

3. Protect AC Compressor from Severe Weather

It’s time to prepare HVAC systems for fall inclement weather, including hurricane season, which runs through November. Hurricanes along the East Coast or the Gulf of Mexico have the potential to push strong storms our way. 

Because your air conditioning system’s AC compressor is located outdoors, now is a good time to take precautions. Protect it when severe storms roll through the Montgomery area.

Should You Cover Your Air Conditioner for the Winter?

Many places sell covers for air conditioners and AC compressor units. You can put a cover over your AC compressor if you like, just don’t leave it on. Weather forecast calling for hail? Sure, go ahead. 

Problems with covers occur when moisture gets trapped underneath and breed mold. Covers also invite rodents and other critters looking for shelter. 

Also, do you have a heat pump? Many people don’t know for sure. If you do, a heat pump uses the outdoor condenser unit all year to heat and cool your house. In this case, a cover is an extremely bad idea. If you’re not sure whether you have an air conditioner/furnace combo or a heat pump you can do one of two things: 

  1. Schedule a tune up and ask your technician when he or she visits. 
  2. Look on the unit for a model number and Google it. 

AC Compressor Checklist

Take these steps now to protect your AC compressor from storm damage and prepare your HVAC system for fall.

  1. Trim away dead branches and other large limbs that extend over the AC compressor’s location. During strong winds, these branches may fall and damage your unit.
  2. Clear away all vegetation growing around your compressor and accumulated yard debris. These natural elements prevent airflow through your cooling system when blown up against the AC compressor during a storm. Larger pieces of material have the potential to damage the unit’s fins.
  3. If inclement weather is on its way, move any large and heavy outdoor items indoors. These items could be picked up by wind gusts and knocked into your AC compressor, resulting in damage.
  4. Turn off your air conditioner during a lightning storm to prevent damage caused by possible power surges due to lightning strikes.

After a storm, carefully check your exterior air conditioner before you restart the system. Visually inspect the unit’s exterior for damage and clear away any debris around the AC compressor. If the outdoor unit was exposed to standing flood water or has sustained visible damage, call for heating and air repair right away.

4. Clean Indoor Vents; Consider Duct Sealing

Another way to prepare your HVAC system for fall is to make cleaning around your vents and returns a seasonal activity. In addition, think about sealing your ductwork. Most homes have leaky air ducts and lose a portion of the air they’ve paid to heat or cool through leaks. Sometimes homes have areas that never get cool or warm enough. 

One reason is inefficient ductwork. Don’t waste your energy dollars. Look into ductwork sealing today! Keep the warmth in winter and cool comfort in summer with properly sealed ductwork. 

5. Remove Window AC Units

Another winterize your HVAC task is to remove window AC units if you use them. There’s no need for them to stay. If you plan to use them again, they’ll be in better condition next spring without winter exposure. If you’re tired of their noise and lack of energy efficiency, consider ductless units. 

Ductless air conditioners or ductless mini splits provide quiet and energy-efficient comfort in specific rooms or zones. Some homeowners choose to use them throughout the entire house. Depending on the model, up to six indoor units may connect to a single outdoor condenser unit. 

They’re especially suited for older homes or any house with complicated ductwork or retrofit requirements. Use them to avoid ductwork installation when finishing an attic or garage space, for example. 

Get your view back when you replace your old-fashioned window unit with a modern ductless mini-split on the wall or ceiling. There’s no security concern, either. Instead of potential window entry, your ductless unit connects refrigerant and electrical lines through a small three-inch hole. 

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6. Smoke and CO Detectors: Change the Batteries

Fall and winter often see a rise in fire and CO poisoning events in homes. Some of this is due to improper use of portable heating equipment or other fuel-combusting devices. Change the batteries and test these devices regularly to prevent tragic circumstances.

Quick Review: How a Furnace Warms Your Home

If you use a furnace for home heating, it’s especially important to have proper smoke and CO detectors as well as regular furnace maintenance. A furnace creates heat by combusting a fuel, such as natural gas. It uses this heat to warm a component called a heat exchanger. 

The blower fan draws indoor air from the rooms of the house into the ductwork and through the HVAC system. It moves the air across the heat exchanger where the air absorbs the heat. The blower fan pushed the warmed air back through the ducts to the rooms.

How Carbon Monoxide Leaks into Your Home

If there’s a crack in the heat exchanger, poisonous gasses, created by the fuel combustion, leak into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas and sadly, responsible for illness and even deaths every year. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 430 people in the U.S. die each year while close to 50,000 people visit emergency rooms with symptoms from accidental CO poisoning. Make this critical check part of your routine for preparing your HVAC system for fall.   

Prepare HVAC System for Fall with Help from Hans

Hans Heating and Air offers the helpful services you need to prepare HVAC systems for fall. From routine heating system tune ups to air conditioning repair after a big storm, our skilled technicians quickly dispatch to tend to your system’s needs. 

Contact us today online or call 334-721-8437 to schedule service for your home comfort system. We offer 24/7 service throughout the Montgomery, Alabama area.

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