Unless you’re a school-aged child, it’s difficult to get excited over that word. For the rest of us, that word means that we’re in for several days of high-level stress. One of a homeowner’s biggest concerns is the HVAC unit.
Here are six important tips to prepare your HVAC unit for a snowstorm.
Make a Tough Decision About Your HVAC Unit. The decision you have to make about your HVAC unit is whether it’s too old to survive another hard winter snowstorm.
Consider Getting a New HVAC Unit
No one wants to have to purchase a new unit. However, it’s far better to voluntarily replace your unit before a snowstorm hits than to have the unit fail on one of the coldest days (or worse, nights) of the year. Then you’ll have no other choice than to buy a new one.
Once a unit reaches the double digits in age, you should monitor it closely. If your unit is 15+ years old, it’s on borrowed time. You also need to remember that the harder the unit is required to work, the shorter its lifespan.
Schedule an Inspection
If you decide that your unit is strong enough to make it through the winter, your next step is to schedule an HVAC maintenance inspection ahead of the snowstorm.
If you took this step before winter started, there’s no need to do it again. In contrast, if you never got around to scheduling a visit from a trained repair person, doing so now could mean the difference between a trouble-free winter and a heartbreaking winter.
Clean the Area Around Your Unit
Keep the perimeter of your HVAC free of obstructions. You don’t want anything blocking the airflow of your unit. The unit would struggle to operate efficiently which eventually results in the unit shutting down.
The arrival of a snowstorm means that several inches of snow may pile on top of and against your outdoor HVAC unit. The snow will have an even easier time of rising to the height necessary to cause trouble if there are objects such as backyard furniture propped against the heating unit.
Therefore, it’s important to keep the area free of clutter. Then when the snowfall starts, it’s time to break out the trusty snow shovel.
Lend Your HVAC Unit a Helping Hand
There are a few simple things that you can do to make it easier for you and your heating unit to survive the winter. The steps don’t require any advanced skills.
Consider Ordering Extra Fuel
Does your HVAC unit operate on heating oil? If it does, now’s the time to place your order for more fuel. Once the weather takes a turn for the worse, the oil company may not be able to get its trucks on the road for several days. When the trucks finally resume deliveries, it could be a long time before they’re able to get to everyone who ordered after the snowstorm hit.
Don’t force your HVAC unit to work harder than necessary. Make the job of the unit easier by sealing cracks around doors and windows. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have the recommended amount of insulation in your attic.
Replace the HVAC Filter
Changing the air filter is a maintenance chore that requires a time investment of only a few minutes to complete, but it returns huge dividends. A heating unit that breathes freely lasts longer. Never let an old filter remain in place more than three months. Check the filter manufacturer’s paperwork to learn how long the filter is expected to last. Some filters last only a month.