Preparing your Home & HVAC System for Winter

September 2, 2014

There may be a science behind predicting the weather, but that doesn’t mean it can’t surprise us. In some areas people might find themselves in t-shirts and shorts one day and breaking out the winter coat the next. Already this year some areas have seen measurable snow, particularly in the areas of Rapids City, SD, North Platte, Nebraska, and Boulder, Colorado who saw snow over a three day period September 9-12, while the calendar still listed the season as summer. The mountains saw more. Seven inches fell at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and Story, Wyoming will be telling stories about how they got more than a foot of snow in September 2014.

Living in Florida, we’re probably not going to be out building snow forts in September, but winter is far from non-existent. Jacksonville winter temperatures average in the low 40s and they’ve been known to drop as low as the 20s. Usually, the first freeze comes in early December, with the record first freeze occurring on November 3rd, 1974, and you never know if this year might be the one where we break the record. There are several things Floridians can do to get their homes and HVAC systems ready for winter.

Check Air Filters

In any change of season it’s always a good idea to change or clean your air filters. At the same time, you can vacuum away any extra dust or debris you notice around your furnace blower in order to assure that the freshest air possible is coming through your vents.

Test Your Wintertime Temperature

For energy efficiency, most people will set their thermostat at a lower temperature in the winter than in the summer. But before it’s time to break out the good mittens you should test your thermostat. To do this choose a chilly morning and set your thermostat to the temperature you plan on keeping the house at over the winter, and note how long it takes to reach that temperature. While you are doing this, keep an ear out for what is going on with the HVAC unit itself. If you are hearing unusual noises, or notice excess moisture or hot spots, you may need to call a certified HVAC technician from Charlie’s Tropic Heating and Air Conditioning in Atlantic Beach, to fix any problems before a serious problem occurs on a much colder day.

You may also want to consider upgrading your thermostat to one that will give you more control over your home’s temperature even when you are not at home. Features on these thermostats range from turning the heat up or down depending on the time of day to being able to control and see the temperature in your home from a cell phone application.

Covering and Uncovering

When winter does come, you’ll want to have as much warm air coming from your HVAC unit as possible, while keeping the cold air outside from coming in. Start by taking a tour of your home and double checking that there is plenty of clearance around your vents and that they aren’t blocked by furniture or other “stuff” in your home.

Another energy saver comes into play as you insulate spots in your home where excess cold air can potentially sneak in, such as in the attic or around your exterior doors. If you’re already accustomed to weather stripping, fall is a great time to make sure your existing weather stripping isn’t worn. If your garage is attached to your home, check the weather stripping there as well.

While there are several things you can check yourself, annual HVAC checks from Tropic Heating and Air Conditioning can often identify problems that are easy to fix now, but could potentially be costly later on. Charlie’s Tropic Heating and Air Conditioning is a family owned company in Atlantic Beach that has been serving customers across the First Coast community since 1998. Whether you need help with installing a new HVAC system or servicing the existing one, you can count on our professional, quality knowledge and workmanship at a reasonable price. Contact us at 904-867-8480 for all your HVAC needs.

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