Getting ready for cold weather can make your South Carolina or Georgia home more comfortable, help you save energy, and prevent costly breakdowns. Preparing for fall and winter can even extend your HVAC system's life and help the environment. Get ready for cooler weather by using ceiling fans, installing a programmable thermostat, adding a humidifier, and maintaining your HVAC system.
Use Ceiling Fans
During mild fall weather, you can often use ceiling fans instead of your HVAC system to make rooms more comfortable and save energy. Fans turn counterclockwise to circulate cool air in summer. In the fall, you can set your ceiling fan to turn clockwise and push warm air away from the ceiling. Then, the air travels toward the walls and the floor.
To change your ceiling fan's direction for colder weather, climb a ladder or stepladder and use the small switch in the middle of the fan. You shouldn't feel a breeze when you stand under a fan that's set for cold weather. No matter what time of year it is, fans can only make you feel warmer or cooler. They don't actually change the temperature in your home, so you'll still need your HVAC system.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
With a programmable thermostat, you can save energy by using your HVAC system less. In the fall, set your programmable thermostat to lower the temperature in your home while you're asleep or at work, and then raise it again about half an hour before you wake up or come home. In warmer weather, raise the temperature when you're away.
You can switch between your air conditioner and your heater automatically with most programmable thermostats, and many can communicate with your smartphone, tablet, or computer. This lets you control your programmable thermostat even when you're not at home. An HVAC professional can help you install your thermostat, or you can do it yourself.
Add a Humidifier
Dry fall and winter air can cause a sore throat, dry eyes, nosebleeds, and irritated skin. It can also make allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Dry air makes your home feel colder, and it can cause cracks and other damage to dried out wood furniture, floors, and even musical instruments like pianos. Static electricity increases in dry air as well, which can harm electronics. When air is more humid, it holds more heat. This makes you and your family more comfortable, keeps you from using as much energy on heating, and prevents damage to your home.
You can attach a whole-home humidifier to your HVAC system's ductwork to prevent these problems and lower your utility bills. A whole-home humidifier can distribute moisture to your entire home. Portable humidifiers are also available, but they're not as energy-efficient as whole-home models. Also, they can only work on one or two rooms at a time.
Maintaining Your HVAC System
To avoid inconvenient breakdowns, have a professional inspect your HVAC system if you notice unusual noises, smells, or performance problems. You should also have a professional check your heater before you start using it in the fall. Check your air filter once per month, and change it when it gets dirty or at least every three months.
A dirty filter can't catch dirt, dust, pollen, pet dander, or other contaminants, while a clean filter makes your system more efficient and increases your indoor air quality. A clean filter also prevents chilly areas and drafts by improving airflow to all parts of your home, and it extends your system's life by keeping pollutants away from motors and fans.
To keep your HVAC system in even better condition, clear debris like leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings away from your outdoor air conditioning unit about once per month. You'll need around two feet of space on all sides of the unit for the best airflow and efficiency. Some people put a cover over their outdoor unit in fall and winter to protect it from debris that could lower efficiency and cause breakdowns. To put a cover on your system, it must be turned off and cannot be run with a cover over it.
AC Southeast can help you get ready for cooler weather by installing, maintaining, and repairing your heater and a variety of other HVAC equipment. Contact one of our experienced dealers for great service.