It is that time of year. The air is getting colder, the leaves are turning, and the wind has a bit more bite to it. Any open windows should be shut (at least during the night) lest we end up shivering our toes off in bed! As autumn passes by, it is hard to deny that we are approaching winter as well.
All this chilly weather requires some preparation on our part. While it is somewhat dependent on where we live (with the northern half of the United States impacted more by the seasonal changes than the southern half, for the most part), that does not mean that we should neglect it either way. Even the federal government has some recommendations that come from the CDC for preparation for these months, as you can read on this page.
As you can likely guess, a lot of this does indeed come down to our HVAC systems. If you did not know, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. While the latter half may not be overly important to us during this time of year (it is a bit too cold to think about aircon right now, after all), upkeep and maintenance on all these systems should continue throughout this time of year as well.
Winterizing A Home
While we may not expect this, checking in on our heating and ventilation systems can be a large part of preparing a home for the winter. This does include rental units depending on the kind that you have (so a traditional apartment may not need to do it, but a condo likely will). However, there are many facets to this, so let us dive right in!
The first question to consider is what winterizing is in the first place. The answer is pretty simple: it is just the process of preparing something for winter. Typically, we apply it to properties since this is where it is most important. What does it entail, then?
One of the most important things to start with is double-checking on the insulation, storm windows, and stripping in your home. The goal here is to help prevent the cold air from seeping indoors. You see, when that happens, the heat has to turn on more frequently. This in turn increases your energy bills, especially in the colder regions of the world.
Next, of course, is taking a peek at your heating system. You could contact a Total HVAC Service if you are uncertain as to what you are looking for, or if you discover something that needs repairs. It can be dangerous to attempt repairs on these sorts of things without prior experience, so just keep that in mind.
Perhaps you are wondering why this is important anyway. The heater should be fine if it worked last year, right? Well, some of it comes down to energy efficiency. We may not even realize if there is an issue if it turns on just fine, but beneath the surface, there might be a significant problem.
That is why it is typically best to just do a quick check-in before the colder weather rolls around. You lower the chance of your own pocket getting gauged, as well as the likelihood that you and your family spend far too many winter nights colder than you need to be. What else is there, then?
If you have a fireplace, it may be time to check in on it. Make sure that you clean it out, especially if you plan to utilize it during this season. Sometimes, wild animals crawl inside. Additionally, debris could end up being a hazard.
The final thing to keep in mind in terms of this topic are the alarms that you should probably have installed. Namely, a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector can both be lifesavers. CO is a dangerous substance to breathe in, as you can learn about here, and should not be taken lightly.
Why Does Your HVAC Matter, Though?
Admittedly, it may seem a bit silly to home so keenly on this topic when there are many other parts of keeping a home functional and safe during the latter half of the year. However, I am discussing it specifically because I find that they tend to be neglected despite their importance to us. Getting through blistering winds and sub-zero temperatures without heating is not exactly desirable, after all.
There is also the flip side of this coin: handling the heat with our air conditioning. It is certainly easy to overlook this during this time of the year, but in my opinion, we should still keep an eye on it. After periods of disuse, some air conditioning units can end up having problems or malfunctions.
When it gets hot outside (and it does seem like the heat gets worse with each passing year), most of us look forward to getting a reprieve indoors. In a state like Texas or Florida, especially, some days we simply do not want to go outside at all! Having a nice and cold inside space can make a huge difference.
A lot of people do not realize how dangerous heat can be, either. There are research articles that demonstrate this, as well as some newspaper outlets that discuss it as well. You can find one in particular on this page if you would like to learn more about how heat can impact humans.
To some of us, it can feel like a waste of time to worry too much about what the future entails. However, an advice, especially in regard to keeping up with the maintenance of your HVAC systems, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you go too long without having a professional inspection, it could break down entirely. No one wants that.
No matter what time of year it is, you will be thankful to have properly functioning air conditioning, heat, or ventilation. Even the latter is quite important, especially for households with allergies. Either way, though, it plays a part in preventing mold (which can cause illnesses such as asthma to flare up or even form).
So, if you have not had an inspection in a long time, right now might be an opportune moment. The snow has not started in most places in the United States yet, and we still have time to properly prepare our properties for the oncoming inclement temperatures. Better to get it done before it is too late, right? Remember as well, prevention is better than cure, hence maintenance is of great essence for your HVAC system to last long.